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9 Things You Should Know Before Intermittent Fasting

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These days, everyone is all about intermittent fasting. The talk centralizes around the physiological and psychological benefits of skipping meals, like not having to carry around twelve Tupperware containers filled with six meals to last an eight hour shift. And how it increases insulin sensitivity, which, when combined with matterful training, creates an ideal environment for partitioning. (Read: more muscle gained, less fat gained.)

Yes, fasting — of all sorts of durations — is something I’m just about two years of experimentation into. And while I’ve seen incredible physical gains, there are some “things” fasting does that few people talk about. Some of these “things” are good. Others, bad.

You live and learn, as they say. But I just wish someone would have told me the following 9 things before embracing an intermittent fasting lifestyle.

1. Your conception of a big meal will be shattered.

People think intermittent fasting means you can eat anything in infinite quantities.

Not so much.

Overall caloric intake stays the same, but since there’s usually a reduced meal frequency, the size of meals increase to accommodate  Most former fasters are those that used to eat six, eight small meals daily. When they turn to intermittent fasting, it’s more like two, three meals daily.

For those that eat a lot of food, these two – three meals must be hearty.

Nate Green recently released a pretty cool experiment he did with his Precision Nutrition team and Martin Rooney. Check out the website: Bigger Smaller Bigger. On the first day of the “bigger” phase, Nate complained about having to eat four pieces of toast and porridge for breakfast.

Four pieces of toast?

After two years of intermittent fasting, eating four pieces of toast feels like eating one Ritz cracker.

Here’s what I ate for dinner the other night: chicken, meatloaf, rice, potatoes, vegetables. Yes, that’s a “big” meal. But if you’re a faster that’s relatively lean and looking to add muscle, you’re going to be cramming some food into your mouth.

2. Coffee will become meal, food group, and savior.

“Wait, what do you mean you don’t drink coffee? All big time intermittent fasting dudes drink it. It’s like a rite of passage.”

That’s what I told John Romaniello after he told me he didn’t really drink coffee.

Years ago, I downed coffee before doing fasted morning aerobic work. Every sip forced a gag reflex. Today, I can’t live without the stuff. Addiction is an understatement. And it feels oh so good.

A comical, yet fairly accurate, look at intermittent fasting is such: skip breakfast, drink coffee instead, have your first meal at lunch. In addition to coffee having some physiological effects on mobilizing fat in a fasted state, it also fights hunger — something most people used to eating a big breakfast need.

Over time, it becomes less of a drink and more of a meal. And then you suddenly become one of those idiots standing in line at Starbucks salivating over the stuff, even though a few months prior you couldn’t understand why anyone with a semblance of sanity would buy Starbucks.

3. Spiritual entities won’t steal your soul if you break the feeding and fasting window by a few minutes.

fasttruth

4. You may get a weird motivation to push your fasting limits.

5. You will hate people that complain about hunger.

I used to be one of them: people that whine and cry without breakfast.

“I’m so hungry, blah blah blah.”

Well, those people get annoying. Not because they need breakfast or anything, but because they can’t live without hunger for more than five minutes without erupting into emotional depression.

Shows you how lucky some of us are, living most of our lives fed plentifully.

I’m glad I’m not one of those whiners anymore. There’s something serene about being OK with a little rumble in the stomach.

6. It can mentally mess you up.

Right now, I eat two meals per day. I want to eat three, but I can’t. I blame it on the Warrior Diet.

Created by Ori Hofmekler, the Warrior Diet, in its simplest use, is eating one gigantic meal at night. I tried this for two weeks. That’s all. Just two weeks. My life has never been the same. Everyday becomes Thanksgiving. You want more and more and more, and you find yourself eating even though you’re stuffed to the gizzards.You get used to being either absolutely full or absolutely empty.

After stopping this one meal scheme, smaller meals don’t sustain you — they just make you hungrier. The only thing you think about is when the next meal is.

(This makes “cheat meals” especially dangerous, as you often find yourself overeating to the point of vomiting. It isn’t fun.)

Over time, I’ve broken free from this. But my current diet (you can find the old one here: The Diet to End All Diets), is still a manipulation of the Warrior Diet. Most of my calories are condensed into one bigger meal late in the day.

Surprisingly, despite the cited turmoil, I love eating this way. I learned how to cope with smaller meals (and even eat one or two of them per day, depending on the day) and not over stuff myself. It’s working out nicely with my lifestyle and physique, so perhaps the glass is half full?

7. The fasting period is an ejaculation of creativity.

After you get over the whiny, “Wahh I’m hungry, I can’t function,” phase, morning fasting is awesome. You’re alert. You’re energetic. You’re ready to get shit done. Since I depend on my brain to function at a pretty high level, this is awesome.

Part of me wonders whether or not this is just a crackpot theory though. I think this benefit gets boosted because the opposite — being stuffed — is like a coma for creativity and energy. And when you’re fasting and eating bigger meals, you’re going to be stuffed often. This leaves the fasting window the most productive feeling.

Regardless, I enjoy it. And it works for me and my schedule.

Combine the fast with coffee for creativity on steroids. +10 EXP.

8. Breakfast won’t be the same.

My beginnings with intermittent fasting weren’t glamorous. With a broken foot, I couldn’t stand upright for more than a few minutes without blood pooling to my foot and painfully expanding it inside of its cast. How was I supposed to cook? Answer: I wasn’t. So, I didn’t.

Prior to this, I loved breakfast. When I was an intern, driving down to sports facilities at 5:30AM, I woke up at 4:30AM just to make myself a gigantic breakfast.

But the timing of breakfast no longer appeals to me. (The food does though. I always eat breakfast for dinner.) From fasting and getting accustomed to eating bigger meals, breakfast becomes a bigger meal. And since bigger meals curtail energy and creativity, you feel like garbage from the beginning of the day onward.

Who wants that?

9. You might go Super Saiyan.

Goku ate big meals. Just sayin’…

+++++

Got anymore? What are some unexpected things that came about on your fasting journey? I’d love to hear them below, so drop some (spirit) comment bombs.

And be sure to let others know what they’re getting into with fasting. Use some of the nifty buttons on the side or bottom of this post to do your crew justice.

 

Image credit: coffee, baby, brain fight, coffee and art

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377 comments… add one

  • Seinfeld, DBZ, and an RPG reference, much win.

    Another awesome thing is going on vacation. Skip breakfast, u sually it’s continental breakfast at hotels so it blows anyway. Leaves you to pork out on all the real good food later.

    It really is a great tool to enjoy your vacation without getting too much unwanted weight gain

    Reply
    • Thanks, Eric. Funnily enough, the first day of my vacation I went to a buffet and ate myself to death. Ha!

      Reply
      • same here, the only time I broke the leangains IF rule of not eating for 16hrs was when I went for a vacation and wanted to share the morning buffet at least once with wife and daughter. Same as you, i many times eat breakfast meals for dinner since I miss curtain dishes like scrambled eggs, omelet, pancakes etc.

        Reply
  • Great Post Anthony!

    I have been fasting around 18 hours daily for over a year now. Sounds like we follow a similar eating plan. I started doing 16 hour fasts and 3 meals and switched to 18 hour fasts and 2 meals. Much more convenient and way more effective when dieting.

    Like you I am in love with black coffee. Coffee makes my day! Occasionally when I go out for dinner I have to be careful what restaurant I go to. Many restaurants just don’t serve enough food and charge up the butt for double portions of meat.

    People get the wrong impression with IF. Hitting your calories/macro’s for your respective goal is the most important thing. IF just makes everything much more enjoyable and sustainable. IF ain’t magic. People seem to think they can eat whatever the hell they want if they jam it into a 6-8 hour window. I tried that for a while (couple years ago) and I started to gain a bunch of fat.

    Greg.

    Reply
    • Yeah Greg, pretty similar systems by the sound of it.

      And the IF, eat whatever you want is a common myth. I think it’s because assholes like me post pictures of outrageous meals.

      Reply
      • Have started 16 8 recently, fits in well with my lifestyle but i dont excercise. Not really lost any weight but feel less bloated and have more control over my ‘uncontrollable appetite’. Will i lose weight this way or should i excercise before eating. I do it 2 or 3 tjmes per week.

        Reply
        • You’re asking me if you will lose weight and the only thing you mentioned is that you’re 16/8 fasting here and there?

          Fasting isn’t a miracle in itself. You still have to do everything else right, like not eat coco puffs.

          Reply
  • I reckon when I first tried IF I really wasn’t eating enough – and certainly not enough carbs.
    If I did it again (I’m going to try out Lyle McDonald’s Ultimate Diet 2.0 for a bit first) I’d be having much more feast like meals, and really extending the under-eating (not fasting) phase. Live and learn as they say..

    Reply
    • Indeed. I’d say one meal should be “feast-like” on your training days if you’re in it for muscle.

      Reply
  • I’m definitely a victim of all these points. Great article man! I really do enjoy intermittent fasting. Running my own company and being a full time writer, I’m always on the go, sometimes I’ll train in the morning and won’t have time to eat till 5pm or so, it’s nice to know I can still have a great physique without being a slave to eating every 2 to 3 hours (which I followed like religion for 5 years.)

    Keep up the good work! Funny yet informative and concise! I like your style!

    Reply
  • i made the experience eating carbs makes me hungry. so my strategy is coffee in the morning, small snack with less carbs for lunch and an bigger meal in the evening. the evening meal depends on training day or off day. i eat way more calories on training days because rice or noodles do not satisfy my hunger.

    Reply
  • IF 18/6 low carb scheme, i love it. sometimes 24-36 hours of fasting thrown into. 1 binge day, 2 binge days, i mix it up a bit.
    my standard fasting day looks like this:
    10 am morning coffee (900ml) with lactose free milk (to leave milk sugar out)
    between 2pm and 5pm first real meal (depending on my busy-ness level of the day.)
    - consists of 5-6 eggs + hot jalapenos + some chicken stripes

    8pm usually my last meal for the day
    on training days it is 2-3 eggs + 400g of some sort of meat + some veggies
    on non training days, it is usually some sort of fish snack for 20g of protein.

    whenever i crave something or feel very low energy, i sometimes drink green tea with a drop of honey and or some sort of cola zero, for a satisfactory feeling.

    my binge days look like this
    - huge pizza
    - good amount of chocolate and some chips.

    my goal is fat/weight loss
    it usually works, but lately not as fast as i would like.

    Reply
    • I’d include some carbohydrates — I e-mailed you.

      Reply
      • I would love to here the rationale behind adding carb, as well specific carb choices for increasing weight loss
        Joe

        Reply
        • Adding carbohydrates supports your training. You need carbs to refuel your muscles after high intensity muscle contractions. Specific carbs are then chosen that best refill muscle glycogen — root veggies and rice.

          Reply
          • Thanks Anthony, great work with the site

          • Thanks.

          • Another important aspect to adding carbs would be the beneficial hormonal response. Long term keto has shown to produce a near hypothyroid like hormonal environment. TSH sky rockets while rT3 elevates above normal and serum levels of triiodothyronine barely breach the surface of the lower end of the healthy spectrum. Even having a few days of carb back loading post workouts each week seems to correct this negative hormonal response and even with as few as 100-150 carbs.

          • Not really carb backloading. Just eating carbs. You know, potatoes. Rice. Like, food. And stuff.

        • I tried the atkins diet a number of years ago, and while I felt perfectly fine on the diet, I just seemed to have no strength for lifts in the gym. It was the strangest thing. I wasn’t sore and I felt fine, it was like someone had sneakily changed the numbers on the plates. My deduction from this (and I don’t know if it’s been scientifically investigated) is that maybe fat is a perfectly fine fuel, but just doesn’t burn FAST enough to lift that heavy weight.

          Reply
  • All great points.

    Another one to consider: some people (i.e., me) get VERY moody without food. No one wants to be around me in the mornings when I’m fasting, especially when I’m not doing it consistently. When it’s consistent its not as bad, but being in college with different class times on different days and all the variables you have it’s hard to make it consistent sometimes.

    Also, I now have no “off” switch. I can eat, and eat, and eat, and eat…even if my stomach says I’m full. It’s like I can completely ignore the full signals and just continue to pig out.

    Reply
    • Yeah, that’s something people get used to usually. This is basically the whiny point mentioned.

      Reply
    • OK, well, one person says margarine is good, one person says it is worse than eating flaming crude oil and faeces. One person says eggs will give you an instant heart attack, the next person says they are nature’s perfect food. But I have always been told by everyone that more frequent, smaller meals, is better. It’s the one rule everyone agrees on. It never FELT right to me, but EVERYONE says it’s better, so I taught myself to eat breakfast and have the odd snack. My doctor says it’s better. Diabetes people say it’s better. Bodybuilders say it’s better (you muscles will shrivel instantly if you skip a meal!) But I never wanted to. It always seemed to me that waiting until I was actually hungry made more sense, and eating a bigass meal after a good workout made sense. You are the first person I’ve encountered who actually advocates the eating patterns that would feel natural to me. Well, dang it, thanks for breaking the taboo. Thanks for the permission! Now I’m going to actually try it. And I’m gonna believe in my own instincts a bit more now too.

      Reply
      • I didn’t break it, many have led the way for me. I’m glad you found something enjoyable though!

        Reply
  • “Ejaculation of creativity” —- love that phrase, it’s so true. I LOVE the start of a day, I have so much more focus and creative energy when fasted. I ate breakfast the other day, for the Hell of it, and it messed me up horribly. I became irritable, couldn’t think straight, and was hungry again in an hour. As I ate a four-egg omelette, this wasn’t normal. WTF?

    Something I’ve noticed–apologies in advance because I realize it is gross–have you found that you, uh, have a once-daily-dump, at the same time every morning? It’s so strange. I wake up, drink 2-3 cups of coffee, take care of bidness, it doesn’t happen again until the next morning. I’m considering writing down the time this happens every day for a week, to see how consistent the time is. Strange thing. My digestive system is happier in general, despite the bizarro and eerie consistency, so whatever, I’ll take it.

    Reply
  • #2 is soooo true! Glad it’s not just me that is this way!

    Reply
  • Anthony-
    I love IF, but you are right I do tend to try And push the fast sometimes, especially after my 24-36 hour fast when I do feast/fast over the weekend. Working out on a fasted state is amazing, of course Inhave some BCAAs though! My pre workout consists of one cup brewed green tea and 8g Cellucore BCAA. I love it! I used to be the one whining after not eating for two hours and be the one carrying a lunchbox around everywhere. IF helps relax your mind as well. Less planning and preparing meals too. My question though is…
    1. What does your typical meal look like?
    2. Do you have your post workout meal the have a second 5 hours later within the feeding window? Anything in between? *this being with your two meal plan.

    Reply
    • Meals for me are either non-existant, small, or huge. No in between, really. I’ll post details later.

      My PWo meal as of late has been small. A carrot or two and some chicken. Dinner is then massive. Lunch is either 12-2PM. Dinner 5-6PM. That’s all.

      Reply
    • Started IF monday because of this blog and have The diet to end all diets tabbed as my cheat sheet for answers. Still got some questions however. During my fasting time (6pm-11am) is it bad to eat negative calorie foods such as lettuce, celery or kimchi? Is it still technically fasting if there are no calories? And do you prefer the 16/8 method or the twice a week fasts?

      Reply
      • I currently only eat once per day. For a beginner, I think either 16/8 or ESE (Brad Pilon) is fine. If you go 16/8, I don’t think you need anything. You eat rather regularly enough to tough things out. For me, with a longer fasting, if I’m hungry, I’ll chomp on some raw veggies.

        Reply
  • Very funny post, but funny stuff aside it’s good to get to know things from someone who has really experienced it, there’s a lot of theory out there but how many of those have really tried it? I can’t remember for how long i’ve been eating just 2 meals a day, well 3 if you count an yogurt at breakfast, i usually fast for about 15 hours and then eat my yogurt, coffee and then have lunch and dinner. I don’t know if it’s the best aproach or not, if there are better diets out there or not, i just know i feel lighter, with more energy, when i use to eat more meals i was always feeling full, when i made the mistake of bulking it was even worse, so i feel awesome, i also don’t have a specific time to eat lunch or dinner, i eat when i feel like it (chaotic eating) :) It might be or not be the best for my fitness goals but i’m getting there slowly and i feel good and that i guess it’s the most important. What do you really think about the new (i guess it’s new) trend that it doesn’t matter what you eat, it matters the calories, i’ve seen a report written by John Barban, he even talks about a test made by some guy that for 10 weeks only ate food from machines, like chocolates, cereal bars etc… and reached a low BF %, his levels of total cholesterol, LDL and triglicerides lowered a lot and his HDL improved. That being true would put me counting calories because i always have a hard time raising my HDL and lowering LDL, i have even started for quite sometime eating a low carb diet to see if things improve. What’s your thoughts on this?

    Reply
    • I think calories are the most important designation of weight gain/loss but quality of foods comes into play with regards to muscle/fat ratio.

      I’d rather have someone eat quality foods without a leash than shitty foods with a leash. The former is easier to manage.

      Reply
  • Rajat Desikan October 10, 2012 3:52 pm

    Excellent blog Anthony. I like the tongue in cheek tone of this post.
    IF has been a life saver of sorts for me. I am still on the ‘Anthony Mychal’ diet and loving it.
    Cheers man…

    Reply
  • today i fasted for 20 hours, did my work out, no food after for at least 2 hours, did some highly demanding mental work, lots of math and psychology involved and now, after 500g of pork, onions, some rice and 3 eggs, my concentration is gone, not 100%, but lets say it went from 95% to 75% (ballpark guesses here) i am a little more tired now than i was before, but overall still feeling solid. i love the fasted state though.. funny to actually say that

    Reply
  • is it okay to go a little bit over your calorie intake one day say from 300 – 500 ? and then fast the next day? i just started so i am strugling with my eating days but i am completely fine when im fasting, it doesnt really make sense! If i eat breakfast on a non fast day i literally just want to eat everything all day and feel unbearably hungry. I am normally a low carb, healthy eater but yesterday i decided id fast today so after my salad i ate a poptart and special K chips, bringing my calorie intake about 300 calories up which is 16,666 calories for the day. Is there anything i can do to help me on non fasting day? i do 24 hour fast twice a week.

    Reply
    • 16,666 calories? Eh?

      I need to know your goals before I give you any direction.

      Reply
      • I don’t normally reply on a thread someone else started in blog comments, but I can’t resist. 16,666 calories, dude? What the fuck? Are you the Man Vs. Food guy? My stomach just imploded thinking about that.

        Reply
      • Id like to lose as much weight as i possibly can, im in college and dont have a scale but last year i did intermittent fasting and went down to 120, which i was very happy with, friends/parents judged what i was doing so i gave in and ultimately gained weight back. i will be okay starting off with losing ten pounds, i just feel like i keep needing to make up for my eating days by fasting the next day and i feel like this will end up firing back on me. if i had to take a guess id say i am inbetween 135-140, id like to stay between 125-130 to start.

        Reply
  • Hi.
    I want to share something with you guys…
    I never tried intermittent fasting. But I tried completely pure fasting for a week. I didn´t eat anything for 7 days, I just drank water. After tons of hours learning biochemistry it just made sense for me. I have to say, that my body completely changed after that week. I had a feeling like I am a new human being both biologically and existentionally. That week just completely wiped out all my hatred towards anything and all my bad and guilty feelings. After that 7 days, every single crumb of bread tasted like salvation and tasted at least 2 times sweeter than it was before. EVERYTHING WHAT I ATE, WAS JUST SWEET, NO MATTER WHAT WAS IT! Even a simple tree leaf…
    Eating sweet things for breakfast = energy for your day????!!!! IT IS JUST A FUCKING BULLSHITTING COMMERCIAL!!!!
    Here it comes: The first and the second day of mine was the worst, because my keto-methabolism couldn´t switch on so easily (probably I had halted all my important enzymes and metabolic pathways because of this fucking western type sugar centered chain-gang shit diet). Than I almost fell into coma, I had cold sweat and high degree dizziness so I very quickly put a quarter tea spoon honey into my mouth. The bad feelings just vanished after a half minute and I felt immediately good. And after that I never needed any sugar during my fasting period, because on the third day, I felt very greatly, that my keto methabolism started a full collaboration. I had acetone-breath and what was happening in my mind, was just a miracle. I started to feel extremely awakened and I felt like my brain was blowing up. I understood just fuckin everything in the school and my reaction time was approx. 5 times higher than before. And which is the most important, I felt maximum RESPECT towards the food. When I saw that people are throwing bread into the bin, I just wanted to beat the shit out of them! So guys, after that, I am every year incorporating this kind of fasting period into my lifestyle. My brother does IF. I am quite proud of everybody who does intermittent fasting! You have my respect and I know that it is not just about our body and methabolism. Our life completely changes after our fasting experience. We become better in our soul, healthier in our body. Am I right?!
    Best regards.
    Peter

    Reply
    • Peter, while I wouldn’t recommend seven day fasts and nearly passing out, I appreciate you sharing your thoughts here. Interesting stuff.

      Reply
  • Anthony,

    What a great post, man! I have been an IFer for a while now and a lot of your points really resonated with me. Especially #3, which got a good chuckle out of me, and #9.

    I originally began IFing because my job (Navy Chief) makes it very difficult to eat every 3 hours, as there is no food/drink allowed in weapons magazines on Aircraft Carriers. Once I tried it, I was hooked. I currently run 18/6, eating 2 meals on resistance training days, and 1 meal on OFF or cardio days.

    I am a fat Italian kid at heart, so the ability to eat huge meals is so refreshing. Even on a “cut”, it is not unusual for me to eat 6 chicken breasts and a mound of nut butter on an OFF day. When doing a controlled bulk, I tend to get very weird looks from bystanders, as the amount of carbs I take in is obscene.

    Oddly enough, I find it easier to hit my goals with this protocol. I found that when eating 6 meals a day, I would “nickel-and-dime” extra Calories here and there. Not a big deal if eating 1-2 meals, but an additional 50-75 Calories over the course of 6 meals adds up. Even more odd: I have also found muscle and strength gains to come easier. I am still doing the research, as I cannot fully explain this.

    Overall, I think this is a very good option for those who cannot eat multiple meals for practical reasons, as well as those who simply like to eat big. It has made all the difference in the world for me, and I don’t plan on going back any time soon.

    Thanks for the great read!

    J-Spot Jon

    Reply
  • My biggest issue is the whining at work when I fill an entire shelf in the fridge on t-days. I commute every other week, so I eat all my food at work.

    Reply
    • Hah, yes. You would enjoy my recent diet mutation then. It prevents you from having to do that. Look into Nate Miyaki and his intermittent feast strategy.

      Reply
  • All true. Before I took my fitness seriously I would quite happily proclaim coffee to be the drippings from the devil and would silently writhe in disgust from those shackled to the Starbucks’, Costa’s, Cafe Nero’s and such, of London…

    …I’m not so vocal anymore (and I have a Venti). Especially when on some variation of IF. And then I started Crossfit for a bit and found out I kill 1RM’s and workouts best in the morning on an empty stomach, coffee is very necessary.

    With IF I’ve found that it’s further accentuated my preference for working out early/mid morning as opposed to the evening which means I can pig out quite happily between 5-8pm without thinking about a workout.

    I also abuse less tupperwear boxes. Just big ones.

    Reply
  • I loved that sequence of pictures depicting what intermittent fasting is really like. Haha, that was hilarious. Here I thought I was the only one. “Is it time yet? No. *Waits* Time? No. *Waits More* Time? Yes! *Omnomnomnomnomnom*” But I do enjoy the fasting period. I feel mentally nimble and alert. It’s a fantastic feeling. I came to appreciate it deeply when it came to high school and college. And yes, it was really annoying hearing people complain about not eating and how they’re soooo starved. I would mentally facepalm whenever I heard people complaining.

    Oh here’s another one for the list: People will think you’re killing yourself because you’re fasting on a daily basis. Some people were like, “Dude, there’s no way that’s healthy.” As a rebuttal, I usually commented on how I had been able to gain muscle, lose fat, AND keep stellar grades.

    The most palpable of the pros of fasting is the mental clarity during the fasting period. That is very priceless, in my opinion. During the fast, I feel as if I’m really in the zone constantly. I’m fully immersed in the world around me, you know? You know how people sometimes tell you to snap out of it? Well, it’s like you’re doing the opposite of that.

    I read some comments about poo on here, and I couldn’t resist commenting on it. I feel like it depends on what I eat. If I eat broccoli, it’s an amazing experience (sorry for the image; this apology probably drove it in further, didn’t it?), but if I eat cereal or sweets, it’s a no-go.

    It’s interesting you mention you shift your perspective on coffee. I’ve never tried it, and I don’t see what people see in it. I do love the smell at Starbucks, though. But the concept is totally foreign to me. “Why do people drink hot liquid? What is this?”

    Reply
  • Oh, and I believe you made a spelling error above when you talk about eating four pieces of bread. I believe you wrote “For pieces of bread?” instead of “Four pieces of bread?”

    Reply
  • Hi Anthony,
    A nice article. I have practicing IF for about three months now, Monday through Friday, and I agree it has helped me lose the last remaining belly fat that has always plagued me, better than anything else.
    As far as coffee goes. I have been a big coffee drinker,not so much in quantity, but in enthusiasm for 25 years now. But I have been toying with the idea of stopping coffee in the morning, since I feel clearheaded, alert and able to function before I drink my morning cup(s) during the week.
    I still eat breakfast on the weekends, since I cook it for my two teenage boys anyways.

    Randy

    Reply
    • Interesting bit about the coffee, Randy. Most feel better AFTER. Thanks for sharing your opinion and experiences!

      Reply
  • Hi Anthony,

    is okay to drink 2 cups of green tea during fasting? (I use the bag to be inserted into the cup and pour water from the kettle)
    Approx 100 ml contains 2kcal.
    Thanks for the reply.

    Reply
  • If you eat 2500 calories in 5 meals of 500, do you need to eat 2500 in you one big Warrior Diet meal? Maybe it’s already overating when you eat 1500 calories then. What are your thoughts? I find it very hard to eat so much clean food in a 4 hour window.

    Reply
    • Bob — that’s the downside of the Warrior Diet. And yes, you need to match the caloric intake. That’s the most important part.

      Reply
      • If you abandoned the strictly defined rules of the Warrior Diet, and just settled in a standard 20/4 IF diet, or even better a 23/1 IF diet, wouldn’t you lose even more weight if you ate fewer calories in that four or 1 hour period? Seems counter-intuitive. What am I missing?

        Reply
        • The Warrior Diet isn’t all that strict. I’m not sure I understand your question though — you’re asking if you’d lose more weight if you ate less?

          Reply
          • Oh I didn’t say that the warrior diet is strict: I refer only to a definition. If you vary the timetable from 20/4 to 23/1, is this still the warrior diet, or does it become something else because of a strict definition?

          • Uh, I’m not sure. I don’t think it matters.

  • Anthony, how would you work IF with morning workouts ? I workout @4:30 am. Thanks.

    Reply
    • You have two things you can do.

      First is a strategy used by Martin Berkhan — sip on BCAA’s (15ish grams) until a big carbohydrate dense meal at noon. If you CAN’T eat a big meal at noon (carrying it to work sucks, etc..), abandon the IF. Have a piece of fruit or two post workout with some whey. For lunch, have another piece of fruit, some veggies, lean protein. And then go with the big meal for dinner.

      Most that try to forego carbs after a morning training session tend to get a little jittry/weird after 3-4 hours of no food (or little carbs). That’s why BCAA strategy is only used if you can have that meal at noontime.

      Reply
  • I´ve been on IF for about three months now… I felt that what has kept me on track is the fact that I started of on a 12/12 protcol and eased into the 16/8 Lean Gains format. Now I´m able to fast for a day (normally non-training days) and feel great. I agree with how more focused you can be once you are into IF and you learn to control “Head hungry” vs. “tummy hungry” as I heard John Romaniello once say in a video on IF. Great read

    Reply
  • Coffe, intermittent fasting, and Seinfeld are a few of my favourite things. One of the better posts I have read anywhere in a while.

    Reply
  • Great article!

    Do you have any opinions on women and IF? I think I have read somewhere that IF can mess up hormones and that women shouldn’t fast more than 14 hours.

    I do IF, have been doing it pretty consistent the last 6 months. Have not really lost weight though, which is my goal. I think I eat too much, sometimes I binge and it takes a long time for me to loose what I gain from that, because I have PCOS.

    Is it okay to drink coffee with a splash of almond milk when I fast, or will this ruin it?

    Reply
    • Yes, I’ve read things like that. I think there are two sides to the fence. I know some females — Tanis Parenteau for instance — that did well on IF.

      Almond milk isn’t ideal as you want to avoid sugars and whatnot. I can’t remember if it has sugar though. I certainly don’t think it would hinder fat loss all together though. But I like coffee black, so I don’t have that problem.

      Reply
  • Hi Anthony,

    I use intermittent fasting 20/4.
    The first meal at 0400 PM, 0800 PM second meal.
    The training day I have no pre-workout meal, like you train on an empty stomach before training (0230PM) will take 10 to 15 grams of BCAAs after a workout and eat their first meal.Co do you think? Is that okay?
    Thank you very much.

    Reply
  • Hey, iv just started reading about intermittent fasting.

    I always workout some time between 8am-1pm. Id be looking to start an 8 hours eating window around 12-8pm.
    Im wondering if anyone else works out outside their eating window and how it affects your work out?
    Should I take protein after the workout?? BCAA’s before it

    any help and advice would be appreciated :)

    Reply
  • I’d love to hear your rationale behind adding carbs, as well as carb choices to bolster weight loss

    Reply
  • I’m practicing IF since May, in a few month’s I realize that 2 meals approach is very comfortable to me, and suits perfect in my daily routine.
    I successfully lost 4 kg of belly fat, but still have some fat at my lover part of the abs.

    The only one thing that still confusing me, huge amount of protein.
    Yepp it definitely works, but I feel sick eating such amount of protein, much more comfortable for me eat crabs like bread, rice, past, fruits and so on, and fats like avocado or salmon.

    I’m doing CC routine, with 3 days split.

    Now I’m trying to experiment with my meals, may be some one did the same?
    - two meal per day
    - eat till you full on training day
    - eat less that full on the rest day (stay a bit hungry)

    FUCK protein, eat healthy food but with 60 g of protein per day, rest are carbs and fat.

    Target: lose last kg of fat, and feel comfortable with meals.

    I super skinny-fat, tall, slim, but have fat around my navel.

    Reply
    • Well that’s because 200 grams of protein is much more filling than 200 grams of carbs. (Under most circumstances.)

      Use something to help get the meats and proteins down if needed. Some kind of mustard or sauce to make things easier to slide down the throat.

      Personally don’t think you’re gonna get very far in terms of building muscle with that level of protein, but good luck.

      Reply
      • Thanks, that an experiment.
        Basically depending on my progress I’ll adjust protein intake.
        Because i think calculating carbs proteins or macros looks like bullshit, people use to eat real food.

        So basically I’ll try to use progress, body parameters and hunger scale.

        From my observations, my slim friends use to eat ton of carbs, with small amount of protein, and they have 6 pack’s.

        Reply
        • I have a friend that eats fast food, smokes, chews, and drinks.

          He’s ripped with a six pack.

          Doesn’t mean I can get away with it though.

          Genetic propensity is a real thing.

          Reply
  • I have a question regarding this method. In college i was drinking lots of beer and pigging out at 3am on fastfood ect. I cut my calorie intake to 1400 a day consisting of 1 large meal normally 1000 calories for lunch and 400ish for dinner. I am disabled and my activity level for fitness is low. I went from 195 to 145 in 90 days i felt good and looked good after all that fat was gone. After Graduating I went to working out every other day weight lifting(just arms/upper body) every other day and i went to 150 5’8 30 inch waist. Keep in mind my legs dont carry much if any muscle, i know 150 sounds tiny. Well i started working a pretty crazy job money is good and i stopped working out. Now im 155 without the 10 pounds of muscle and I’m wondering if my 1400 cals a day of large lunch small dinner can work 4 years later now being late 20s I just feel like a fat mess 34 inch waist and less muscle overall. Any thoughts?

    Reply
    • I think you should start with the simplest first step. And if that approached worked for you previously and it’s something you’re familiar with, I’d say give it a go. You’ll probably lose weight as that’s not a lot of calories. But aside from that it’s something you already know how to do. So do it. Don’t overcomplicate things.

      Reply
  • I’ve only been doing it for two months now, with the one or two days per week fasting method. The first thing I noticed was that just about 24 hours after my last meal, when I go to the bathroom, my urine is, lets just say, pungent (and dark). I attribute that to my filter organs getting the time and energy to give me a good cleaning.

    Also, one of the things that I wanted to accomplish was a little incongruous with all of the stated benefits of IF, which is to address my acid reflux. I was recently diagnosed, and read up on the inflammation that was occurring in my esophagus. I am happy to report that I have been feeling A LOT better with that, and have not had the characteristic cramping while swallowing since I started, not to mention an overall reduction in feeling that characteristic acid burn. Again, I attribute that to IF giving my body the time and space it needs to heal.

    Reply
    • Paul, about your color — I’d say it might be because you aren’t drinking a lot of water. Either that or you’re taking a strong multivitamin.

      And the acid reflux — yeah, reduced frequency means reduced acid incident.

      Reply
      • I’ve noticed difference in Urine color too, I don’t think its something to worry about because its the same color on both the on and off days. I tend to drink more water on the fast day. Your third point is true, I’ve begun to eat even an hour earlier sometimes based on if the day was hot or cold, but I never put myself down for not keeping to exactly 6PM every other day. Also, just recently I’ve begun to see signs of detoxing that’s uncomfortable but reminds me that my sacrifices are not in vain

        Reply
  • Number 3 is hilarious!! I am guilty of that. It’s also so true about not being satisfied with a small meal. I’m eating around 600-800 cals per meal. 2 huge meals at night. Maybe three. I don’t get satisfied I just keep eating, and lately I’ve been eating a lot of pizza burgers and what not. I also do feel energetic now. Before IF I could only eat around 1 cup cooked rice and feel good. Now 2 cups isn’t nearly enough. I like the whole insulin sensitivity thing though.

    Reply
  • Nice post Anthony!

    I’ve been IF-ing for quite a while now (usually 16/8, sometimes 20/4) and it really is freakin’ awesome. Now that my body/mind has adapted it….coffee+work=INSANE productivity.

    Love #5. My friend was talking this morning about his mom asking him to fast once a day for 11 weeks for religious reasons. His fast btw allows fruits, nuts, yogurt and milk (so not really a fast anyway lol). Anyway, I felt like a complete dbag about it after the fact, but I was like ‘dude stop whining…I fast on the regular and it is awesome!’

    And yeah #9. I pretty much go HAM on meals. Got an extra kick out of your bullet point title since my name is Sayan haha.

    Great stuff man!

    Reply
  • Hey man, Just done my first day of IF and I already get you on your points haha, ESPECIALLY the coffee part. My goal from IF is to lose fat to get some tone while maintaining the muscle I already have without necessarily building (cardio, calisthenics, some weight training). Having said this I have busy days so like to pack a lunch. I was considering salad based lunches with varying meats e.g. chicken, tuna, salmon etc and then possibly sticking in some black beans/ eggs etc and then maybe some whole grain pasta/bread on other days. My portions for lunch wouldn’t be too large as my aim is obviously to burn more calories than I am taking in.
    What are your thoughts on this idea, any tips etc?

    Reply
    • It all depends, really. I generally don’t eat much pasta or bread and I think it’s one of the poorer carb sources you could eat. Doesn’t sound too bad though. Meat with veggies never fails.

      Reply
  • I started reading into IF about 15 minutes ago after seeing a link on a different article. Now, I know it’s not IF, but that one guy who said he fasted for seven days… that cannot be recommended on ANY level right? Or would it be practical for maybe three or four days of fasting with plenty of water for a quicker weight loss and then start the IF?

    Reply
    • I wouldn’t recommend anything further than a 24 hour fast. Just me though. Someone else might have a different opinion.

      Reply
  • Can you explain the 12/12 and 16/8 I would like to do this but am not quite sure. I crossfit three times a week and soon will start training for a half marathon. Thank you.

    Reply
    • The times stand for when you ea and when you don’t eat. That’s all there is to explain about the numbers. Not quite sure what else you’re looking for. Sounds to me like you need a specific method. See my post – The Diet to End All Diets.

      Reply
  • Hi Anthony, I decided to try to eat only one meal per day (1800kcal). Do you think it’s okay, I think one meal a day is good for cutting fat-you have the same opinion?
    Thank you.

    Pavel.

    Reply
    • I think you should eat more than once per day. Probably twice — even if you follow the warrior diet. That’s just because breaking the one meal per day habit is tough and tends to effect the psyche after a while. At least that was my experience.

      Reply
  • Great Post, interesting stuff. Ive been fasting for 10 days now; with my eating window being from 1-9 and I have definitely noticed significant improvements around the gut. Ive limited my intake to 1900 cals per day. However, I have had some serious difficulty sleeping..is this my body still adjusting or is this quite normal?
    Cheers!

    Reply
    • Are you drinking more caffeine? How big is your last meal? When do you try sleeping?

      Intermittent fasting tends to be tough with those with messed up hormones too. But I’d like to know the first three questions.

      Reply
  • Interesting study that relates to IF that you might not be aware of yet:

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1550413112001891

    Reply
  • I still find it amazing how much energy I have when fasting, I can accomplish so much things at work now since I started, its also weird how time flies during mundane tasks like sandblasting. My OCD is also heightened during these times too!

    Reply
  • Hey man, pretty nice post! But me, I just hate making things more complicated… I just make sure I stay within the caloric limits I’ve set for myself and I just play with the rest basically. Some days I’ll fast 20 hours, some days 18, some days I’ll take in calories at maintanance level, and on another day I’ll switch that up as long as my weekly goals are met, I’m good to go. This keeps me ‘sane’ and motivated to keep going you know? It doesn’t become a routine… That’s my take on things as well as on IF. Maybe you should give that a try. But whatever man… Keep on GETTIN’ RIPPED!

    Reply
  • Hi Anthony.

    I am brand new to IF (today is my first day); But I’m so excited after all the reading and research I have done. In order to reach and maintain my weight loss goals, I am implementing IF exclusively for my eating on a 19/5 schedule with my eating window being from 1pm until 6pm with my daily workout around at 10am. From 6pm onward I will be fasting and drinking COPIOUS amounts of Green Tea with Spearmint.

    I’m 35 years old (3 kids), 5’7 and currently weigh 210lbs. My goal is to lose 45lbs by cutting my calorie intake to 1300 daily. My excercise consists of 75 kettlebell swings every day (only 8lbs – cause I’m a wimp) and 40 minutes of yoga or pilates (alternate days). I have been at the same weight for a decade, so I imagine cutting the calories and IF together will be sufficient for weight loss.

    My question is, should I focus on a LOW CARB (less than 50 Net Carbs daily) plan? Or should I just focus on staying at 1300 calories a day eating whatever??? Please help and advise.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking the time to write posts like this to help people like me!!

    Reply
    • I’d start with the simplest first step. The step that doesn’t give you headaches. Do that and see where you get. No need to make things more complicated than they need to be. If you ever hit a plateau then maybe try something different. But I’d just shoot for the calorie number first.

      I’d also get a bigger kettlebell
      :)

      Reply
    • Based on your info, I would say you’re caloric maintenance level is at around 1900.
      You’re activity level isn’t very high. 75 Kettle bell swings may take you a couple of minutes and it’s not a vigorous exercise so the calories burnedwould be at around 15 calories. Pilates every other day for 40 minutes is just going to burn around 140 calories.

      I you really want to get results AS FAST AS POSSIBLE, and you don’t want the ”yoyo effect”, then you really need to know what you’re eating. I would suggest using myfitnesspall.com to log all your foods and exercises. Your total caloric intake should be below maintenance level of 1900. so 1300 calories isn’t a bad goal. that’s 700 calories a day, 4900 a week, 19600 a month. To lose 1lb of bodyfat, you need to burn around 3500 calories so do the math. That’s around 5.6lb of PURE Body fat you could lose every month if everything goes accordingly… If you don’t want to get stressed out about being in a caloric deficit, then you could just eat and drink at around maintenance level but up your game up when it comes to your workouts. If you for instance were to do calisthenics (body weight exercises) vigorously, for an hour total every day, you could burn around 500 calories
      every day just by exercising and this means you can eat more and when mixed with IF, you’re body will turn into a FAT BURNING machine!
      But you can do whatever…

      Reply
  • Curious if you have any specific thoughts on this for women? This “diet” caught my eye mostly because I’m the sort of person who *can’t* eat first thing in the morning without getting sick, anyway. I’ve always done two meals, the 2nd being the larger. Mostly, I’m tired of my husband harping at me for not eating breakfast; ha! I would like some legitimacy for my weirdo eating habits.

    And, yeah, it’d be great to drop a few pounds, (can I expect that?) but I’m at an already *healthy* weight, strength, flexibility, etc. for my height and age. Toddler chasing is the secret.

    I’ve read that it’s better for women to do something like a 10 hour window rather than 6 or 8… thoughts? (Yeah, I know you’re not a woman; you still might have thoughts even as the inferior sex, though… I kid, I kid…).

    Reply
    • My girlfriend would probably like you. Man hate in the house.

      Anywho –

      There are some things flying around that IF is less than ideal for women. From what I’ve seen, it can go either way. Some chicks can make it work just fine (Carrie Nyden for example) others might not fair as well (Stefani Ruper).

      My thoughts?

      Don’t go too far in either direction without experimenting yourself. Chances are if you can’t eat breakfast, you’re going to fair just well with an intermittent fasting scheme. But what I want to know is this: you don’t eat breakie, you eat a small lunch, and you eat a bigger dinner, yet you’re just starting intermittent fasting? Sounds like you’ve been doing it for a little while now hah.

      Reply
      • Indeed… I think I’m pretty much already doing it, maybe just not a long enough fasting window at this point to lose weight. Or, more likely, not working out enough. Ugh.

        Reply
        • you’re not going to lose weight just by intermittent fasting… Understand this. It’s just another way that could benefit you in weight loss and overall health. It’s the CALORIC DEFICIT that makes you lose weight..You can apply IF but without a caloric deficit, you won’t be able to lose weight. But hey, you can do whatever…

          Reply
          • Yeah, like I said before, “losing” isn’t a really big deal to me. I’m at a pretty healthy weight doing what I’m doing (which I’m discovering was actually a half-baked IF since, oh, high school). I was just bemoaning that if I DO really want to lose, I’m going to have to amp up the exercise; haha. I also need to figure out what my calorie intake to *lose* would be… obviously, if I’ve maintained for over a decade (and thru having a kid) I have pretty good muscle memory on how much would be too much for me.

            I was more curious originally (sorry, I’m a writer, I ramble) if anybody knew if women did better with a shorter fasting period, or if that was bunk.

          • Weight loss is more about the diet rather than the exercise.

          • Yes, this is rather true. The fast does provide some benefits though. But if you’re cowing down during the feast portion, you won’t lose weight.

        • Nah, it’s not the fasting window. It’s how much/what you’re eating most likely ;)

          Reply
          • Well, my goal at 5’2″ and 120 lbs to lose is 1200 calories… I typically come in a little below that. So, I’m pretty sure that it’s my laziness, and not what I eat; haha. I’m a treadmill broad. I know, I should be doing more weights and such.

          • Hrm…you should lose at that amount. It’s only about x10 body weight. That’s about the lower end of the recommendation.

  • Antony do have can a template of your training routine training you use when fasting?

    Reply
  • I have been researching the 16/8 or 18/ 6 for sometime and actually started today. I love this article. Thanks for this!

    Reply
  • I started a low carb lifestyle a few days ago, and I love it. I’m discovering a lot more foods that I like. I’m going to introduce IF this week into the plan. This will certainly help save on the grocery bill. Now to carve out some time to work out…

    Reply
  • Anthony, one more question. What is your opinion on length of fasting, and the loss of LBM? I have seen some people support a 5 day fast! Do you think there is a limit before one should feed? Some say no more than 48 hours while others act like it’s nothing(so long you eat around workouts and meet your macros). I ask because have been wondering about Lyle’s RFL diet that requires workouts to be cut by 1/3 in volume and frequency to maintain performance. This could technically allow for a 4-5 day fast assuming you didn’t have huge activity levels and followed his template. Just limit fat intake and carbohydrate load on these days? I don’t know. I really wish there was more out there on fasting ofther than LG and ESE.

    Reply
  • Just read and sent this post to a friend who talks smack on my fasting. Also, Don’t forget to add “Keep Busy”. The days I fast and don’t have plans or something to do I’m hungry hours earlier then when I stay busy. I can go 18hrs easy if I occupy the mind. Boring saturday morning I wanna eat by 10am. Keep up the good work, man.

    Reply
  • Hi, I work graves. Do you know if this works on the other side of the day. Right now I’m just doing cardio and calorie counting now. It’s working but I’d like to try IF. I would probably do the 16/8 and eating window would be 12am to 8 am. I work out before bedtime(6amish).

    I am 5’6″ 148 and want to loose about 15lbs. 1200 or less calories/day. Any advise.

    Enjoyed this BTW.

    Reply
    • If it’s working, I wouldn’t really change anything. If you really wanted to, I don’t see a problem doing IF in that time period. Your body adjusts to things so your probably working in opposition to everyone else — I don’t think sunlight has much to do with effectiveness of IF.

      Reply
      • If I go under my 1200 calories, which I do often will my body go into survival mode? I don’t wantto keep storing fat. I’m on my second 16 hr fast and it’s going well. the black(strong)coffee and lots of water has made it pretty easy to my surprise. I actually felt worse after I ate something last night at midnight. is this normal? I had a good salad and a hamburger party with cheese. thanks in advance for your help.

        Reply
        • Depends. If you’re intaking your bodyweight x 10 calories, chances are you’re going to need to have at least one higher calorie day per week. Maybe two depending on how lean you are. BW x 12-13 or something. Depends. I can’t say much for sure.

          As for eating past midnight and not feeling good — could be psychological. Or it could be your body just not being used to eat at that hour. Some people are finnicky with stuff like that.

          Reply
  • Hi Anthony,
    Love your post! I am 25, 5’5 and weight 130lb. I lift weights as heavy as I can without compromising my form for 8-18 reps depending on the workout for the day. Last year I lowered my bodyfat and got lean at 118lb but I was eating 5 small meals a day. I have been researching IF but I am still looking for a suggested meal plan for someone my age/weight. I don’t wakeup super early either, usually like 8am. Hopefully I have given you enough info to possibly help me come up with a strategy?
    BTW… I did IF to the best of my knowledge today. Waking at (730am) Having coffee with 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa, cinnamon, stevia and a splash of 1/2 & 1/2 then 32oz water/BCAA mix (x2) finally after being awake for 6.5 hours (2pm) I ate my usual breakfast of 2 organic eggs with 1/3cup oats, 1/4 cup blueberries, 1tbsp organic virgin coconut oil, 1tbsp chopped almonds, cinnamon & stevia. 6 hours later (8pm) I had 1/2 chicken breast, 2 pieces of sprouted high fiber bread (40g carbs) with pizza sauce and some low fat mozzarella cheese. I felt amazing during my fasting state but after the dinner (don’t usually eat dairy) I felt bloated and kind of lethargic compared to my fasted state. Thanks for your time. I really want to learn more and would love your input! ~Krystal Blue Crusius

    Reply
    • Well I don’t quite have the time to write you out a meal plan or anything of the sorts, but you haven’t told me what it is you’re training for so I can’t say much.

      Reply
  • Where does vodka fit into this IF plan? I enjoy it on the rocks, always in the evening.

    Reply
  • Did I hear you on the radio this morning? It would have been WGN radio in Chicago.

    Reply
  • I’m extrememly interested in IF as I am a new mom and back at work- I hardly have the time to eat on most days, without misunderstanding your humor, if I fast for 24hrs- 3x/week what would you recommend my eating schedule and portions be on the other days? Unfortunately being a working mom I won’t be able to actually work out for while but I’d love to get my weightloss started with IF..your advice is much appreciated! Thanks in advance for your input

    Reply
    • I’d only fast twice.

      As for your portions the other days, that totally depends on what your goals are. I’d start with just picking more wholesome foods. If you don’t train, the paleo thing should work out as a nice base. Once you get that down then you can worry about portions.

      Reply
  • Hi Anthony, I love this informative blog, I am very new to IF as of like a month ago? It is really hilarious to me because, here I was every night, prepping for the next day, counting up all the calories in my fucking measuring cup, putting it all into my fitness calculator app. and basically just being a slave to the number-all the while asking myself “why cant I just skip breakfast/brunch all together!??! I don’t even LIKE eating before noon.. anyways I discovered the IF system and started immediately. I started out uneducated and just got up on an empty belly and went at my day, but later discovered I wasn’t using BCAA’s, this changed everything for me and kept my growling-very pissed off belly at bay. I now start right out with my BCAA’s in water and have about 10mg every hour or two until I eat around noon-one-ish. The ONLY problem I have is this: I LOVE my morning coffee, so much I would prob harm someone if I woke up and my coffee maker had been stolen during the night, guns, sure, t.v. okay, but my coffee maker? You better start running!!! I cannot, will not, won’t ever, drink John Wayne coffee.. I HAVE to have my creamer. I was using that sugar, fat-filled irish cream creamer for years but recently switched to Coffee Mate Light. It measures out to be about 60 calories and 12 carbs for my morning Jo. I realized that this could be breaking my fast??? Do you think??? So, if it is, (hope the fuck not) won’t my blood sugar return to a fasting state after it breaks this down?? what does it mean EXACTLY to break a fast, is it non-reversible? why can we have <50 calories during a fast and be OK?

    Reply
    • I don’t use BCAAs, first off. Technically that is “breaking the fast.” (That’s not why I don’t use them though.)

      I can’t empathize with people that can’t drink black coffee, sorry hah. It’s a tough love type gig. You generally want to avoid sugar and whatnot when you’re drinking coffee. Black. Black. Black.

      As for what constitutes breaking the fast – who knows. I don’t. I mean, coffee could technically mean “breaking the fast.” In the long run, I’m not sure what would matter and what wouldn’t. I just suck at moderation so I like to keep myself on track.

      Reply
  • thanks for your nice post. i have a broken foot and am/want to IF and am worried that since i have an inactive leg (it is much smaller than my other now) fasting will make me lose even more muscle mass because it is not being used?

    (fem) i’ve been reading/experimenting with fasting for 6 months or so. I’ve had a 54hr or so fast and just kept busy ,it was fine. I’ve also done some IFing and really like the paleo format with out the redmeat, plus cheese/dairy/too much chocolate, mostly end up eating when i was hungry. High protein low carb usually with alot of fat like almond butter ,coconut/. i got very skinny with my fasting, a (+another 2 day fast) I gained it all back plus going to europe a couple of months ago/christmas as i started eating grains/carbs again and i hurt my foot. sure, i was very thin before but this is too much. Also, i like low carb better with a ton of fat/protein, i eat more veggies. and watch my glycemic index and ..do i ‘have to start eating carbs to heap the benefits of building muscle. isn’t coffee enough? i quick fat loss with retention/growth of muscle is important for me and i want to stay active with my upper body. i drum for an hour or so ever second day.

    Reply
    • You leg is going to shrink regardless. Been there, done that. Only thing you can to do preserve muscle is work the healthy leg. Fasting doesn’t cause muscle loss. Lack of calories overall does.

      I wouldn’t fast for more than 24 hours. There’s a point of diminishing returns.

      Also, carbs are generally a good idea if you’re looking to add muscle.

      You’re kinda going in the wrong direction it seems.

      Reply
      • thanks for your reply, browsed your site after my halfbaked question and i really liked your weight gain/loss experiment. wish it was that easy for me!

        ‘bin there done that eh? any notable recommendations to strengthen the leg when it is healed? i have one podium and now one chicken leg. i play metal drums so getting that left foot up to par for double bass drum is important.
        Trying to work on my carb fear, but at the same time would like fatloss.
        (sorry if i’m with too many questions, yes i do tend to think in every detail.

        Reply
        • Hah. “Easy.” Sure, if you call six years of experimenting with different food types and quantities “easy.”

          Train the uninjured leg and anything uninjured. You’ll get some retention that way. Won’t be perfect though.

          Reply
  • oh shoot, (sorry for all those typing errors in my last message), i forgot to ask:
    i read that you need to minus the digestion time, what is left is your fasting time. eating so much fat as a main macro, won’t that take a long time to digest, so doing anything less than a 24hr negates the increase in HGH after the twelvth or so hour? or is it different for a female. if i cut off at 9 and not eat until 8, i would think that is only 15 hours fasting time. it makes me want to just sleep again fasted and eat breakfast? although fasted thought is awesome.

    Reply
  • All you can eat buffets HATE intermittent fasters… My girlfriend doesn’t know I intermittent fast, it blowes her away how much I can eat. :D

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  • I was just turned on to intermittent fasting by a friend, and coincidentally had started it on my own just because it felt comfortable. I’ve always preferred a few larger meals to lots of smaller meals or snacks. However what seems natural to me is to eat a good size, but not humongous, breakfast and then skip lunch, then have a good size dinner. My meals tend to be at about 9:15am and then around 8-9 at night. I don’t experience a serious food coma after breakfast and find that late morning is my most productive time. I work out mid-day instead of eating lunch.

    Does anyone else have experience with this sort of schedule?

    One other thing to note is that I am type-2 diabetic and control it with diet and exercise. A big requirement is to limit carb intake, so my meals never contain any grains (including wheat, corn-mail, rice), potato or sugar. About once a week I allow myself to have a little extra carbs.

    Reply
  • Funny article , It’s nicely said and enjoyed my reading .. anyway you mentioned something we’re in common here well you were talking about ( fasting & diet thing) I am one of thee fasters since I was 14 years old but only for ‘one month’ , lately I fast a month beside that the Tue\Mon-days’ not for purpose to just have a healthy lifestyle ‘many other reasons’ but I liked your theory , I think it makes sense to me .and the other common is you mentioned the coffee’s addiction, I am just sucks at that. lol . Thank you . keep up , the first writing I read by you . :)

    Reply
  • Im interested in IF have never experimented with it right now im on the 5 meals/ day but have found now im stuck at the same weight for 4 weeks now 5’9 197 would this be beneficial for losing some more weight as well as burning off body fat with my workout currently do 6 days/week tuesday and thursdays do a split workout

    Reply
    • People usually see some weight loss, so it could help. All depends on if you’re going to be eating the same quantity or when you’re going to be timing things.

      Reply
  • Started IF a couple of weeks ago. Dropped almost 2kg and its already showing. Im still making gains (using The HST scheme) First couple of days were dreadful. Used to get up at 6 and eat. Eat again at 9, 12 and 3. Train at 4. Eat 2 or 3 times more in the evening.

    Ive always loved coffee so thats my breakfast solely now. Eat at 1pm then 5ish then 9ish. Eating about 1kg fibrous veggies per day and roughly 1kg meat. Eating carbs at my two meals after the gym on my three training days.

    I can get a bit lethargic as my work can sometimes include quite heavy lifts. But I just drink some BCAA nad have a cup of coffee and Im ready to go again. I have noticed that I get loads done at work now due to not having to eat three times during work-hours.

    My goal is keeping/maintaining strength while going down from ca15% BF to under 10.

    Reply
    • Your lethargy is probably because you aren’t getting *as many* carbs as you might need (demanding work stuff might make that happen).

      BCAAs are a good strategy.

      Reply
  • Hi, i was just wondering if someone can point it out to me if it is best to work your eating hours in BEFORE working out or after…I wake up at 6am and finish work and get home at 6pm and then i go gym (long drive to and form work etc) so what should be my eating window? 3pm-9pm?this will mean i eat before gym and after…or 8pm-12am?which means i will only eat after gym..any advice would be appreciated!..just need clarity on if i should workout during the fast or not.

    Reply
    • The hours that best fit your schedule are “best.” Some people like training fasted. Other (like you probably) need to have something to eat preworkout because they can’t get in the gym until way late in the day. If this is you, a paleo style lunch around 1-2 will be ideal. Something small. Lean proteins, piece of fruit, veggies.

      Reply
      • Thanks mate, i’ll do a 2pm-8.30pm eating window where i eat up until 4pm, go gym at 6.45(roughly) and finish up with a last meal at 8pm…mon-fri that is. and on weekends i can workout during the fast as i have the time..its ok to change up the timing of the eating period during the week right?

        Reply
  • PREVIOUS QUESTION WAS TO THE WRONG EMAIL!…

    Hi, i was just wondering if someone can point it out to me if it is best to work your eating hours in BEFORE working out or after…I wake up at 6am and finish work and get home at 6pm and then i go gym (long drive to and form work etc) so what should be my eating window? 3pm-9pm?this will mean i eat before gym and after…or 8pm-12am?which means i will only eat after gym..any advice would be appreciated!..just need clarity on if i should workout during the fast or not.

    Reply
  • This post is amazing. I’ve just started intermittent fasting this past week after reading the Perfect Health Diet. Prior to that I had been paleo for about 6 months and sugar free for about 3 months before that. All in all I’m loving it, but of course still nutting out the logistics… Basically I usually follow this sort of scaffold:
    9am Long Macchiato.
    11am First meal. 3 eggs, vegetables and greens cooked with butter or coconut oil
    2pm Snack. A serve of fruit or nuts, sometimes veggies dipped in guacamole
    5pm Dinner. 200g of an animal, carbohydrates from potatoes or occasionally rice, lots of veggies and some form of fat, butter or oil.
    Let me know if you suggest any changes! I usually achieve around 60% fat, 15-20% protein, 20-25% carbs and 1500 calories. I’m a 19 year old female, 5’10″, 68kg.
    LOVE your references and analogies. (:

    Reply
    • Well I won’t have anything to say until you try it and either see results or don’t see results. Let your body try to figure things out first. That way you’ll at least know if something isn’t working before trying to change.

      And I don’t even know if you’re doing any sort of training so guidance is tough to give.

      Reply
  • I workout in the morning and like to skip breakfast, any suggestions on bridging the gap post workout until lunch? Or just suck it up.

    Reply
  • Ant great read brother but I sketchy after I tried the carb back loading diet and bulked up.. My job is all contract photographic work and I’ve been asked (told) to drop from 92kg to 85kg and hold single didget bf.. My problem is after back loading If I eat a big meal I can’t stop.. My brain just switches off and it’s killing my career.. Ideas mate?

    Reply
  • Hello Anthony, thanks for brilliant article. I am going to start IF tomorrow: 20-4 planning on having two meals and maybe a small snack in the middle of this four hour window, starting at 12.00 pm and finishing at 4.00 pm

    I am a rower and I train twice a day most days. I have the odd evening and morning off when I feel tired, rather than keeping strict days off.

    I usually train at 8.00 am – 10.00 am (12.00 pm weekends) am and evenings 6.00 pm – 8.00 pm times and duration varying on what I’m doing ie weights, cycling and swimming etc.

    Any advice?
    I think my evening sessions will be fine because my last meal will be at 3.30 but I’ll be really tired in the morning sessions and after when I’m waiting for the clock to count down to 12.00.

    Should I just man up and push through it and reap the rewards?

    Reply
    • I don’t know if I’d do the 20-4 if you’re a rower training with that frequency. You’ll deplete your energy levels with that second training and be on empty rolling into your morning sessions.

      I don’t think fasting is a good fit for you, IMO. If anything, you’d probably need to eat after your first training session and second session.

      Reply
  • Hi, I did think the morning session I’d be running on empty after two sessions, evening and following morning. What about one protein shake after each training session? Would that then ruin the fast?

    Reply
    • You need to stop thinking about fasting my man. You gotta be up and ready for your sport. You don’t have the luxury of planing your entire day around one training session with the aim of aesthetics. You’re an athlete, not a general fitness goer.

      Reply
  • Is this a good dietary plan for, say, really overweight, people? I’m hitting the gym hard, and this sounded like a perfect lifestyle change, but bf% calculators say I’m morbidly obese. Will I see significant weight loss in a reasonable time frame with a 16 hours off, 8 hours on meal plan?
    Thanks love the site!

    Reply
    • If it helps people get really lean — like six pack lean — what makes you think it would be ineffective for someone that should have a lot easier time losing fat, hrmm?

      Reply
  • You have just outlined an eating disorder — and I would know, having been a compulsive over-exerciser, anorexia, and orthorexic.

    Reply
  • Just wanted to let you know the 16/8 is awesome even in the grave yard hrs. I’m fasting from 2am-6pm. Love it!!!!!! Just curious. What kind of coffee do you like? I have to have strong flavor for black. I am trying to work myself up to some weight lifting. Just tired from working nights. Thank you for your advice!

    Reply
    • I like dark roasts. Always black. Any kind, really. Starbucks Thanksgiving blend was awesome. But I don’t really have a go to.

      Reply
  • I just want to say what an outstanding diet this is. I do a 20/4, eating from 12-4.00 pm. Eating nothing in the fasting stage, only water and coffee, no coffee after 5 pm, because it will affect my sleep.

    It was hard for the first day fighting the hunger, so was sleep for the first night and second night. Now I don’t feel hungry and my sleeping is improving. I do feel tired occasionally but I am dropping weight and training very hard.y

    My diet is strict in the eating window, no simple sugars, also making sure I have fats, such as cod liver oil gr. I make sure I have greens, good carbs and lean protein. My advice is don’t hit the feeding window too hard, you have 4 hours, so use them. Also, chew food well, to help with digestion and don’t eat too quickly. I’ve been waiting 20 years for the perfect diet, and I’ve found it.

    Jess, this diet isn’t encouraging eating disorders, it’s reverting back to a prehistoric eating pattern when we were ‘hunter gatheres’. Eating disorders are down to people not diets.

    Thanks Anthony

    Reply
    • Well it’s not like cavemen had clocks on their window eating times, so you always have to put things in perspective.

      Reply
  • Just starting the IF thing, using the 16/8 strategy. I start fasting at 9pm and end at 1 the following day. I’m a 9-5′er so my workouts are (unfortunately) at night. (630 ish to 8 ish). A normal lunch, mostly protein, some carbs. A small meal/snack before working out, and a regular dinner. Protein and carbs. No “junk food”.

    My biggest concern is getting the right balance of proteins and carbs at the right time. I know at the end of the day it’s calories in/calories out. My primary goal is losing fat.

    Reply
    • Considering you didn’t list your height, weight, training duration, kinds of training, current food intake, I can’t help you.

      Reply
      • Anthony, Sorry………….. here’s the skinny (or not so skinny)

        5’11″ 195 lbs. Training 4-5 days a week, was mostly running – 1/2 Marathon training. Recently switched back to weight training with about 30-45 min of cardio prior to workout. Mornings are coffee & water. 1 pm I have lunch. Low fat, no particular protein/carb ratio (yet). Moderate portion. Pre workout, a snack with some carbs, maybe a PowerBar + some nuts. “Normal” dinner after my workout. Again, moderate portions. I’d say under 2100 calories for all food eaten between 1 and 9 pm. I do not yet take any supplements or count carb vs protein vs fat calories.

        Thanks for your time =)

        Reply
        • I’d make your lunch mostly veggies and lean protein. Whey is a good choice here too. Perhaps a piece of fruit too.

          I also wouldn’t take nuts pre/post workout, that’s just me though. Everything else looks decent. Then again, I don’t know what “weight training” means to you. I’d also make sure you’re getting 1 gram of protein per pound of BW.

          And I’d ditch the preworkout snack.

          Reply
  • Hi Athony,i REALLY need your help.2 days ago,i started IF.16hrs fast,8hrs window(12pm to 8pm).You guys claimed that every morning,skipping breakfast will really make your stomach “growl”,feeling so hungry..BUT why am i not feeling SO hungry during that morning without eating breakfast at all.Instead,i only felt slight hungry-ness during both morning(s).Does it got to do with the metabolism thing,refers to eating in the morning speeds up your metabolism therefore burning more fat off?By the way,if you’re asking why can’t i workout in the morning,i’m in school during that period of time.Does this means i’m burning LESS fats compared to the rest of you guys??Please help!!!!!

    Reply
    • This has nothing to do with hunger.

      “You guys…”

      I never said anything about hunger. Not eating isn’t the same as experiencing hunger.

      Reply
  • REALLY appreciate you responding.So just to clarify,skipping breakfast in the morning(not eating),regardless of how hungry i will be,i am already burning calories?Recently for the past 3 days of IF,it seems that i do not see any fat loss results,not really sure that it got to do with the “skipping breakfast” problem..That’s why i got to raise this issue up.

    Reply
    • You burn calories regardless of whether or not you fast. If you didn’t, you’d be dead.

      Like I said, there isn’t an association with hunger and fat loss. And it’s not like skipping breakfast is a magic bullet. Everything else still has to be set up rather on point. Millions of people skip breakfast and still end up fat.

      Reply
  • Hi Anthony ive been considering doing IF 16/8 method and have really been countin my macros preparing myself. I weigh 177 im 6 foot and I workout pretty hard 5-6 times a week WEIGHTLIFTING I just started running again about 30 minutes after my workouts 2-3 days out of the week for my macros im using a 40/40/20 so im intaking around 206 grams of carbs and protein and for fat im around 48 grams daily. My goal is to maintain my bodyweight and just lean out more to maintain my weight im supposed to eat 2566 calories but since im trying to lean out im eating around 2066. I just need an idea of how to eat in between my eating window and how my meals should look like. If you need me to answer anything just let me know thank you for your help

    Reply
  • Hey Anthony, I have just started on IF with in mind 1 meal a day at 5pm ( may change this). Im 6ft and 185lb, however I carry alot of fat in my thighs instead of my stomach which I know is strange for a male I have always struggled to lose fat here. Anyway I would either workout in the morning or mid day. My goal is to lose about 8kg as well as gain muscle through strength training 4-5times a week plus get fitter at running 2-3times a week. If i workout in the morning I need protein and carbs after workout asap right? or do I continue fasting to 5pm? Also any other tips you could offer for my situation thanks.

    Reply
    • You should take measures to keep your liver glycogen in check, but you can prolong your main mean till later on in the day. So if I were you, I’d look into a Warrior Diet or Intermittent Feasting protocol more so than strict NO FOOD through out the day. See this: http://bit.ly/W90YbW — he goes into strategies to keep the body at bay PWO.

      Reply
  • I train at 4:30 am in the morning. I initially lost 30 lbs using IF. I didnt take BCAA’szor anything and nothing until 11:00 am. I did this for around 6 months with good results. I started to get a little weirded out by lack of strength gaines when i increased the calories, so for the past month i have been taking BCAA during the workout and consuming around 800 calories post workout. I then fast through lunch and have my
    largest meal of the day at 6pm. So far its going well. I dont miss lunch and the preperation hastles.

    Reply
  • Man awesome post! I had to laugh all the time, because some stuff was very funny but mostly because I recognize just about everything you have written. I started IF 2-3 months ago and I am sure I will never turn back. I was already doing quite well physically and strength wise, but now since the start of IF I get comments on my gains constantly and questions about what I am doing to achieve them. I have to say it was not just IF, the biggest contribution IF gives you is exactly what you wrote: giving you an extreme sense of awareness, physically as well as mentally. You experience food and training more intense and you start thinking to improve everything to the slightest detail and you never stop thinking to improve stuff (training and diet wise).

    Thx for the good read keep it up!

    Reply
  • Hi Anthony, thanks for the great post. I’ve come aware of IF threw a friend about 2weeks ago since then

    I’ve been
    Taking a 300 calorie intake twice a week on my none work-out days. With a 1 scoop casein protein shake to keep the protein up for the day.

    3 days a week I’ve been skipping breakfast, having a low calorie small nutritional lunch. And a huge dinner to hit the spot.

    The other 2 days I’ve been basically eating regular keeping in mind not to go over board on the junk.

    I work out 3days a week. I’m 6ft and 230Ibs.

    Am I on the right track or does my schedule need some tuning?

    Thanks very much Anthony

    Reply
  • everything you wrote is exactly whats happening to me, i currently eat one huge meal a day, the best part is the creativity during the fasted period, i need less sleep so im up earlier which means my day is longer and i need to fill my time by doing other things, my house has never been cleaner and more organised lol i feel great and i get to feel full which you dont get from diets, i know this isnt a diet but its a struggle to eat a full days calories in one meal (with clean food)! the fat is falling off and ive never felt better!

    Reply
  • Hi Anthony, sorry I’m at 230 trying to get down to 215.

    Thank you,

    Reply
    • I don’t know what,

      “I’ve been Taking a 300 calorie intake twice a week on my none work-out days” means, nor do I know what, “eating regular” means.

      Reply
  • Hi Anthony

    I’ve been reading your articles for quite some time now and I absolutely love your way of thinking and writing.
    I’m thinking about to try IF once but there are still several factors that prevent me from experimenting with it.
    I’m following Mehdi’s 5×5 training for some months (until now, I got the greatest results I ever had, strength and fitness-technically). I’m into martial arts, Taekwondo, and tricking as well (Juji and trickstutorials changed my life!).
    At that time, I’m practising TKD 7h/w and I follow the 5×5 on the tkd-off-days. I’m experimenting with the physical stress weightlifting and martial arts puts on me. I do expect that I have to drop or drastically reduce weightlifting when the weights get really heavy in some months, in order to maintain performance in TKD, I’m just curious about how far I can go, without the need of more recovery/less training.
    My doubts, concerning IF for me is, that I would lack energy for my busy trainig-week. Right now, I can’t imagine performing well in TKD and lift heavy without eating a nice breakfast. Normally, after 2.5h of TKD training in the evening, I think I couldn’t eat that much as is recommended for IF.

    Ok, now I have mixed up a lot :-) Would you give IF a try anyway and just see what happens?

    Thanks a lot!

    Reply
    • I’d say get off StrongLifts and into something more suitable to do both activities.

      As for fasting – no clue. Don’t know when you train or anything.

      But know that energy used for activity isn’t taken from food from the same day. It’s usually from previous day’s food. So your breakfast is likely psychological and hunger (ie: not being hungry) rather than actually getting energy from it.

      Reply
  • 300 calorie meaning only 300 calories for the whole day 2wice a week. Eating regular. Meaning not following the intermediate fasting. Just eating when ever.

    Reply
    • 300 calories per day? I’m not a fan of that.

      And I don’t know how much you eat in a “normal” day, so I can’t say much.

      You gotta work with me man, I can’t read your mind. Spend a half hour getting me some details and then I can give you a better response.

      Reply
  • I have been low carbing for 18 months and am looking for an IF method that will allow me to eat a more normal diet and maintain my current weight for the long haul. I am exhausted by the restrictive nature of low carbing. It just does not feel natural to me. I have been researching IF methods like crazy on the internet but can’t find an answer to my question, which is “what is the best IF method for me to maintain my current weight”? I was hoping either 16:8 or one day a week of 24 hour fasting would work (2 days would be too hard). I am terrified of stopping my way of eating to try something new for fear of gaining weight after maintening for so long. I would really appreciate any advice/input! I am really hoping one of these methods might help me escape the low carb lifestyle. For reference, I am a healthy, fit, 44 yo female, 5’2″, between 105 and 110 lbs. and I do light exercise or brisk walking at least 5 days per week. I lost about 19 lbs. on a high protein/low carb diet 18months ago and then adjusted to my low carb eating plan which is low carb 6 days a week with one “free” day. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Maintaining your current weight has nothing to do with fasting and everyt

      Reply
    • Maintaining your current weight has nothing to do with fasting and everything to do with calorie intake. That’s why you aren’t finding your answer. I gain weight through intermittent fasting methods, as do many (via muscle). So that’s your first mix up

      24 hour fasting is rather easy. You only eat dinner that day.

      Can’t help your fear. You just gotta experiment. Either that or you stay on your exhausting and extremely limited diet.

      Reply
  • I’ve been doing 16/8 IF and noticed that my breath is getting a bit gross – is this a side effect of ketosis or just simple smelly breath? I find that I sometimes need to chew sugar-free gum so I don’t kill people when I talk to them…

    Reply
    • Considering that there’s nothing about ketosis with fasting, it’d be more along the lines of you not eating carbs rather than IF. And even then ketosis is associated with FRUITY breath, not stank breath.

      Reply
  • Hi, Anthony I came across your article becausd Im trying to find the right information that will help with whole body toning on limited food. Being 24 years old, 5’3, 118 pounds, I really want to know how to tone or define the whole body and burn a good amount of fat. Problem is, I can’t afford food much. Can a person tone, burn fat on one or two meals?? I honestly hate following the regimine of scheduled 4 to 5 meals a day. Its such a pain! Where do I start? What do I do? I feel pretty frustrated lol will IF help me get to my goal? I work with a ketttlebell. Can I get my body toned, defined on one meal a day? I apologise for this long post! Tired of being out of shape. Thank you

    Reply
    • Hey Sarah – first off, I don’t do toning. Wrong dude.

      You want tone you gotta to two things: build muscle or lose fat. More often than not, it’s the former that’s more important.

      I only eat one-two meals per day, so you can change your body on only one meal yes.

      Reply
  • Almost a years ago I started IF and lost 20 pounds in 3 month. I stop doing IF and gained about 25 pounds. I’m 23 and 329 I’m going to start off with 14/10 . I’ll start eating at 2 and stop at 1am. I’m hoping to fit in 2 big meals and 1 small meal. Plus because I’m so bug I would hate to use weights now so ill be working out 3 times a week to start and 1 hour on the elliptical. I loved IF before I just need to get over there first 2weeks and I’ll be good.

    NOTE : I did eat what I wanted but I always counted calories.

    Reply
    • I’d do weights anyway. And what time do you go to sleep? It’s a good idea to leave 1-2 hours from your last meal before sleeping.

      Reply
  • I’ve been doing IF for a week now but I take coconut oil + ghee in my morning coffee .. And I also add the oil + ghee in my afternoon herbal tea no sugar added+ I take the coffee black with the added oil + ghee…. My question is this does a 24hr IF and eating at 6p one big meal consisting of 2tbls white rice , 1/2 grapefruit,2 mouthful of kimchi,1 large tilapia fish & all was cooked in coconut oil… Would I still be able to lose weight? I also do a 2 hr sauna sweat at night

    Reply
    • I’m not a soothsayer, so I have no idea. You just gotta try it. Sounds to me like you’re lacking protein big time. If you have any muscular ambitions, you don’t hit them on this kind of set up.

      The fact that you’re putting stock in the sauna over strength training worries me the most…

      Reply
  • Hello there Anthony, i cant believe ive only just cane across your site.Love your no BS approach to training and nutrition. Im just after abit of advice with IF. Ive started the leangains approah with 2big meals and i love it. But i feel like im over complicating things with my carb intake. On training days its about 340grams. Do you just have the same meals on training days/rest to keep it simple. Also what type carbs would you eat to get close to this mate. Thanks

    Reply
    • No, I vary my meals on training and rest days. But my meals on training days usually stay consistent. Meals on rest days are pretty consistent.

      My carbs these days are rices and root vegetables. Used to be oats.

      Reply
  • Hello Anthony

    I am 5ft 7 inch female who has lost 146lbs over 3 years. The only exercise I do is walk around 30 miles over 5 days a week. I still have 65lbs to lose and I know that no matter how many weights I lift or toning exercises I do I will never be toned. I accept this and find it doesn’t bother me anymore. However, I would like to lose the rest of the weight I have struggled so very, very hard to lose.

    Last month I stalled in my weight loss and keep puting on and taking off the same 5lbs, which was so frustrating. I then came across your site by accident; searching for ‘why do I have cravings after I eat’ and after reading your diet blog started to practice IF. I do 8/16 and keep to meat and veggies, fat and some treats, as in dark chocolate and berries. I have started to lose again and all my cravings are almost gone.

    I have no question, just a big thank you. THANK YOU.

    Shell xxx

    Reply
    • Awesome. Thanks for the kind words.

      Reply
      • Great Article Anthony. I have been doing intermittent fasting for over two month. I weigh 176 pounds and lost 14 pounds in two months and continuously losing weight. I do 16/8. My fasting period is 5 pm till 9 am. And I work out in morning and then open my fast at 9.00. My question is can I open my fast right after my work out at 9 or should I weigh an hour or so after my work out. Also, i lost over 90 pounds before going on IF to loose my stubborn fat. One thing happened after I started IF is that I don’t believe in cheat foods any more and only eat healthy during my food intake period.

        Shah

        Reply
        • You can do whatever you want. Some people at right after. I usually wait a little bit just to let me stomach settle. But I’ve been known to not care about these small details.

          Reply
  • Yeller_Goodness April 3, 2013 3:13 am

    I’m female, 43 years old, 5″2′ tall, and weigh 102 lbs.

    I started IF (19/5) on Jan 1, 2013 for the sole purpose of simplifying my macronutrient tracking process. I reached my goal weight last summer and my focus since then has been on building muscle and reducing body fat.

    One of the BEST things about IF for me? Eating lunch out of a large serving bowl almost every day. We’re talking at least 12″ in diameter here. So full of yummy win.

    Reply
  • Hi Anthony. Love the post. Hilarious and informative. I am a former figure competitor that has been living out of tupperware containers, eating 150-200 calories every 3 hours for 2 years. I switched to IF a few weeks ago and still can’t get over the feeling of being FULL! I love it. I am just wondering if you have any suggestions for my schedule. Weight lifting is my world, and I want to see muscle gains while maintaining, if not losing body fat. I am already lean, but wouldn’t mind seeing all my abs 24/7, rather than just when I am carb depleted. My issue is that I wake up at 3-4 am for work and don’t have the chance to lift until around 7 pm (I work 10 hour shifts, then have 3 kids to run around after work). I finish up lifting at 8:30pm or so, then rush home to get ready for bed. I am in bed by 10-11 pm most nights. My eating window is from 2pm-10pm. The fasting period has been pretty good so far (although I am awake for a lot of it), but I can’t possibly fit all 1800 calories into an hour and a half, post workout. I am huge on nutrient timing and like to get the vast majority of my carbs in post workout. I don’t want to stay up any later and sacrifice more sleep to be able to eat all my calories. The question is, will I still see the benefits of IF without being able to train fasted? I have been eating two meals (25% of my calories in each meal) between 2 pm and 6pm, so I am not going to be burning glucose for energy during my lifts, rather than fatty acids. Is the long fast even worth it? Any suggestions on getting the most out of IF if I stick with it? Thanks in advance, and again…awesome post! *clinging coffee cups*

    Reply
    • You’re in a tricky situation for sure. With the way you’re set up, there’s really no viable way to train fasted. You gotta eat some things. I might even say you should ditch the huge post workout meal and try to keep a more even keel calorie intake on most of your days.

      Reply
      • Thank you. Just wanted to updates really quick. I have been doing IF for two compete weeks now and have lost two pounds, found a four pack again (was constantly bloated and constipated for the past two years, so had kind of a pot belly), increased weight in a more than half my exercises, increased speed and duration on sprint intervals, gained energy (haven’t taken a nap in a week and a half), became almost regular again in regards to digestion (this is a fucking miracle cause I’ve tried everything for two years to fix this issue), and have been in a great mood. One observation that I was surprised with: I have been experiencing extreme aggression and lack of control of my emotions at the end of my workouts, when I hit “the wall”. I have cried at the end of high rep sets, and have lashed out on people that get in my way while super setting. So not like me and I was so embarrassed. As soon as I get done lifting, I experience extreme relaxation and calmness. Bizarre. Cortisol levels being high cause this, or is there a link with increased HGH levels?

        Reply
        • I’m in the dark on this one. Wouldn’t even fathom a reason. I don’t think GH is associated with aggression.

          Reply
  • Hi Anthony: Thanks so much for the response. I went for DEXA xray today and they put me in GYNOID Distribution as 29.8% percent body fat vs Android. My total body fat is 20%. Do you recommend different approach for reducing fat in hips and thighs for men or just do what ever you suggested in your articles. My testosterone level are fine. Thanks again and I wish i would have known about your site before. It is very helpful. Thanks again.

    Shah

    Reply
  • Dear Anthony, I started IF at the first of January. I did 20/4 once a week and recently increased to 2 times a week. I gained 5 pounds, though my swimming pants gets too wide and my shirts too small. It brings me at the next level of being ripped, while been at a plateau for some time. I don’t take supplements now (occasionally whey in low dose), but I feel it might need something now. I mean multi vitamins, fish oil, etc. Any general thoughts? 1.84, 94kg, 12%, 5 days/week work out, healthy foodie

    Reply
    • I don’t do supplements.

      And doing IF says nothing about the total composition of your nutrition intake. So I’d first say you need to see what you’re eating as a WHOLE.

      I can fast all day and then eat 5000 kcals in butter. Fasting won’t help then.

      Reply
  • Hello. Great article! I love DBZ. My question is can I take my supplements during my 8 eating hours? Thanks in advance Anthony.

    Reply
  • Hey anthony,
    I if normally 16/8 but looking maybe to reduce eating too 18/6. Simple ‘man up’ question I guess haha, I hate coffee and have these 200mg tablets as they are a tablet(solid not liquid)will they effect my bodies state of fasting??
    And is green tea ok too drink in the mornings??

    Reply
    • Tea is fine, as if coffee. Caff pills should be fine too, but I wouldn’t take them to blunt hunger. (IE: as a food replacement, else you risk addiction or something of the sorts.)

      Reply
  • Oh this page is so well done, kudos! kept me laughing, I’m an obese guy who discovered IF a month ago, IF makes it so easy to be at a calorie deficit using 16 (or +)/8 (or -) daily, right now I’m finally buring off a cheese burger I ate 3 years ago…. loving it!!!!!!

    Reply
  • I just started ADF last Saturday and blogging about the experience (http://tryingadf.blogspot.com/) and this post is so funny and true. My fiance and I countdown to midnight like every other day is New Year’s Eve. Thanks for posting this!

    Reply
  • Hey this was a great read. I’ve started IF fairly recently but it seems it really works for me. My question is every week once a month I do a detox where I reset my body per say & in that week I usually have smoothies (mixture of fruit & veg ones) whenever I’m hungry with at least 2 with 30/40g of protein. Can I still do this whilst IF? I so the 16/8 my eating when I break is usually 2-3 meals depending on the day I’m 5.5 145lbs I’m looking to lean out & lose body fat. I train very hard incl. cardio & weight training. But yes my regular cleanse is that still ok whilst IF in your opinion do you think please.

    Thanks you.

    Reply
    • I’m not sure if smoothies correlate to a “detox” or “cleanse.” Can you do them? Why not? Do they work? Who knows?

      I think veggies are relatively free foods. I don’t think they need to be bound by feeding-fasting windows and can be eaten whenever (non-starchy veggies that is) — and this is something I’ve since changed my opinion about since I started. Fruits, one or two pieces per day is usually alright for most people trying to lose.

      So maybe that answers your question.

      Reply
  • this is one of the greatest articles ive ever read. Very informative and hilarious.

    Reply
  • One huge improvement as a result of not eating lunch to everyone’s social life is the ability to use the lunch break for the gym(it’s usually almost completely empty around that time so no waiting for equipment) and getting in all the calories from home cooked meals when back from work in the evening.At 4:00pm I would break my fast with a simple 2 scoop whey shake made with water so I dont have to carry around milk and worry about it getting spoled and eat all my daily calories only once I reach home till midnight.

    Reply
  • hey, nice post;) i don’t know how i found your page, but it’s one of my favourites from the beggining. i’m a begginer in IF and i am a kind of vegetarian (sometimes i eat fish&seafood – once or twice a week). so almost any kind of meat can’t be part of my diet. it’s really hard to fast and eat a lot of proteins when you don’t eat animals (those animals with legs). anyone can help me with that? i know a lot of about clean eating, but this is my biggest problem i can’t slove. once, i ate a lot of crap on IF and that was a huge mistake, i put on weight about 4kilos in 4weeks… p.s. sorry for my language, i haven’t write in english for ages;)

    Reply
    • To be honest: no, I can’t help you. I only know how to deal with those that aren’t afraid of eating the muscles of other creatures.

      Reply
  • Hi there everyone! I used to do IF about 16/8 without realizing it was a “thing” … I was always told by everyone that I needed to eat every 2-3hrs because I was seriously slowing my metabolism down, I started eating like that and have gained a decent amt of weight. I am now going to officially start the IF 16/8. I am looking for tips, any feedback anyone can offer. I work out typically 5-6 days a week for about an hour, it’s strength and cardio. I am not looking to build a ton of muscle I really just want to lose the extra pounds I’ve put on and be more toned. I was wondering if I want my food window to be between 12pm and 8pm and I typically work out at 530-6am is it ok to be working out on an empty stomach, and also not eat for several hours after m work out? Again, I’m semi new to this, any tips anyone can offer would be helpful. I eat relatively healthy normally, no simple carbs or empty calories for the most part. Thanks for your help.

    Reply
    • Be more specific on your training.

      Reply
      • I do 40-60min of cardio typically 5+ days a week(elipticals/running/stairs etc) approx. 3-4 days I do strength training with various machines at lower weights w/ multiple sets (arms/abs/legs etc). Im 5’2, approx. 134lbs which is a 10lb increase since my eating in a restricted window was changed to eating every few hours (about a year and a half now)… still with relativly the same calorie intake. I havent been able to get the weight off even though I eat mostly whole foods, no simple carbs, alot of fruit and vegetables… maybe its the fruit .. who knows… again, any feedback from you or other posters is most appreciated… and specifically about the IF if I am able to work-out at 6am and not eat untill a 12pm window, or ill be doing damage? Thanks

        Reply
        • I saw you needed to know the diet on some others. Without getting too specific I eat alot of nuts as snacks, greek yogurts, chickens, some red meat, no fish, wheat pastas, wheat breads, peanut butter, alot of vegetables and fruits… soy milks, some soy products… I sometimes use whey, but maybe not as often as I should be, sometimes I have sweets like chocolate at night… but just a few pieces not like a whole candy bar or something. Thx again.

          Reply
          • Yeah, sounds like your teetering the calorie bounds. Nuts are good, but can be easily overdone. Same with peanut butter. I’d consider tightening them. Make the meat and veggies your priority.

        • Sounds like you need some free weights in your life. Either that or you simply are still eating too much. Or not enough protein, too much everything else.

          Reply
          • Thanks for that feedback … I’ll keep that in mind and try the free weights. Any thoughts in regards to a food window being 12pm-8pm, but working out at 6am… Is it ok to not eat before or after working out… For several hours? Or should I have something pre or post workout like whey? Thx!

          • Preworkout nutrition not necessary.

  • I am not ‘seriously’ into the intermittent fasting but I am experimenting; So here’s my question: Let’s say I had a hard workout yesterday. It was some cardio mixed with medium-resistence weight training around noon. I had a post workout shake, a few hours later a good dose of protein and carbs and some more protein and carbs around 9PM. I wake up and as usual do not eat anything but try to hydrate. Around 11 AM I am -starving- and my muscles are crying for nutrients. What is going on inside my body when I (feel) like my body wants to repair the microtears of muscle but I am depriving it of nutrients? I finally broke down and had a protein/banana shake when I really wanted to just hold off until dinner (and I did not workout today, it was an OFF day). Could I at least be burning some fat even though I’m not building my muscle? Thanks for any input.

    Reply
    • 1) I’d question the need for a post workout shake if you only had a “medium” weight training session.

      2) Your muscles aren’t crying for nutrients if you deliver them the day prior.

      3) Your body can handle short term stints without food. I mean, you’re only talking about an 14 or so hour period without food. Do you really think the body is freaking out and destroying itself in such a short time span? No. More like your mind is destroying yourself by what you believe to be happening.

      4) How do you know you aren’t building muscle at that point in time? Again, you’re telling yourself stories here, not admiring the reality of physiology.

      Reply
  • I really loved reading your blog, I have never commented on a blog before but I find I’m feeling jealous of everyone’s ‘brilliant diets’. I’ve been on the Cambridge diet on and off for 18 months and I does work (when I do it), but I found that I was feeling a bit cheated when I had to turn down nights out with friends etc.

    I decided that the IF diet was the way forward, I felt really positive about it, I only had another stone to lose, how hard can it be? Very. I’ve been on IF for 2weeks and I’ve put on 2 lbs, I love my ‘eat normal’ days as I’m fasting alternate days. On my fasting days I eat between 500-600 calories of my choosing, on my eat normal days I do tend to go a little bit overboard but nothing too significant.

    I really want IF to work but I’m wondering if I’ve ruined it for myself by being on the Cambridge diet (3 shakes a day 450 calls in total) intermittently for so long. I genuinely don’t have time to exercise but I’ve just tried working an exercise DVD in (nearly killed me).

    I was just wondering if you could think of any glaringly obvious reason for the weight gain or give any tips for different approaches?

    Reply
    • I don’t know of the diet you mention, so I can’t say much. You admitted to going overboard, so perhaps start there.

      Reply
  • I’m currently on hour 14 of my first IF. I don’t feel too bad. I started last night at 10 PM. It’s currently 12:00 PM, and I’ve only had bottles of water since waking up at 6. I guess working and keeping busy frees your mind from the hunger thoughts. So far so good. I plan to stop at 5, but I may do an entire 24 hour period. Just contemplating.

    Reply
  • So I’m starting day 3 of IF. I spoke of the first day earlier in the post. Yesterday’s fast beganTuesday night. My last meal for Tuesday was a make-shift tuna salad. I made it through to 4 PM Wednesday. Jimmy John’s BLT and chips…lol. I did The Rack Workout at about 7 PM and ate at 8. Last night was baked chicken breast, two servings of spinach, and rice pilaf. I think I got done at about 8:30 PM. I didn’t bring any money or food to work, so I’m looking to push my fast to about 5-5:30. I may tweak to get on a regular daily schedule. I haven’t been dying to eat. Usually when I break my fast, I know I could go further, but don’t. I don’t know when I’ll attempt the 24 hour IF, but I know I can do it at any time. Doesn’t seem too hard. Good luck to everyone on your journey. My friends are calling this the Ghandi Diet. Well he was a great man.

    Reply
  • 25.5 hours!!! I did it with a little extra time on the side. Got my workout don’t in the last 45 mins, and sat down to two thin porkchops, brown rice (two servings) and tomatoes. Feel a lil guilty about the rice. But it’s cool. I like this post.

    Reply
  • Reply
  • Im fasting for 18 hours, even though im only 10.

    Reply
  • Hey Anthony, great stuff here! It is very refreshing to have such awesome info coming from real peeps! I am returning to IF because I used to love the way it made me feel and it was so damn easy! I left it for awhile and you guessed it, gained fat back, so I am back at it again and am really hoping to stick to it for life!!! Anyway, I wanted to know your thoughts: I am a 34 yr old female, 187 lbs approx 25% bf. I am 5 ft 6 inches tall. I am an athlete who does everything from triathlon to powerlifting ( I know weird combo, but there it is) my 1 RM’ s are as follows- Bench 205lbs, Squat 250 lbs, Deadlift 315 lbs, I run my mile in about 7 min 10 sec and my 5 km in approx 26 min 45 sec, I can do 9-10 wide grip pull ups. But I want to be fitter than this!! I know I can be!! I am looking to shed about 20 lbs (and it is all around my waist bro!) anyway I have been playing with calorie intake, but am going to shoot for 2000 cal a day….all of the online bmr calorie calcs tell me this is nowhere near enough. I lift heavy 3 days a week, sprint once a week, do HIIT 3-4 times a week and hit yoga on my off days. Do you think this is ok for cal intake? I want to maximize my fat loss without losing muscle mass and strength. Thanks so much for all of the awesome info! Cheers!

    Reply
    • I don’t believe in calculating calories. Try something, see results, then adjust food quantity accordingly.

      Reply
  • Oh and somedays I do morning HIIT fasted and then a few hours after that hit weights fasted as well…is that ok? Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Most would say walking is the better morning fat loss tool, but I say do whatever works for you.

      Reply
  • Struggling to get my weight down for BJJ comps I really want to try IF, but im a bit confused about when I should have my eating window.
    I go to uni 9-5 everyday and then training 5-8ish.
    Should I start my eating window from when I get up until before training, or start 2-3 I the afternoon, eat a big meal, train for 2-3 hours then eat again. I’m just afraid that when I get to eating after training, there wont be enough time for my food to be digested before I feel like going to bed
    Thoughts?

    Reply
  • There is one thing that i am concerned about IF,

    Lets say i have college class in 9.00-11.00 AM and i workout in 7.00-8.00, that means im in fasted state 3 hour after workout. Is it okay? Are there any side effects to my body (not psychology) ?

    Reply
    • You won’t die. If you think you will, then eat some fruit or veggies. But you won’t die.

      Reply
      • What i meant was my muscle lol, not getting fed for 4 hours post workout is it okay and not turning into catabolic state ? Thanks in advance

        Reply
        • I know what you meant. You won’t die. Your body won’t eat yourself until there’s nothing left.

          Reply
  • Hey Anthony,
    Im about to do a 12 week body blitz on sept 1 and my mate suggested i try intermittent fasting to drop the weight faster.
    My Q is i work on the mines so im up at 4 am ( usuallybreaky at 430) then home at 630 go to gym then have dinner(730/8) bed by 830. my issue is ive read i should train on an empty stomach and sometimes its bit to hard to get up at 3am to go to the gym before work. am i still able to do my workout after work even though it will be near the end of my window? plz email me :)

    Reply
    • Those in your situation usually have a small meal at lunch with no starchy carbs. You won’t be fasted, but that’s the breaks (and downside) of “true” IF: it requires some lifestyle freedom that not everyone has.

      Reply
  • I created a post workout shake thats been awesome with IF. 1 cup spinach, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1 cup almond milk unsweetened, 1 small banana 1 packet quakers oatmeal, 1 scoop chocolate peanut butter whey protein. works out to be about 400 calories 30 grams protein and plenty of carbs but no fat!

    Reply
  • Hi Anthony,

    I currently eat only one meal a day.
    The one big meal in the evening I always between 05.00. pm – 06.00. pm.
    The training day (I train in 04.00.pm) I have only pre-workout 10-20 grams BCAA + one-two scoops con-cret.
    Is this the right approach?
    Thanks.

    Best,

    Pavel

    Reply
    • There are many ways to fast. There’s no “right” approach, only the “right” approach for your personal situation.

      If you’re comparing it to what I do, I don’t take any pre-workout supplements.

      Reply
  • hi, I am 30 years old 5 ’5 ” and a half or so…I weigh about 148 to 150. I like my weight at around 135 but I’m more concerned with looking good and building muscle..than weight. I find so much information contradictory and confusing. eating regular healthy snacks throughout the day is not working for me. either is cardio and light weights with lots of repetitions. a couple of days ago I strted doing heavier weights and high intensity cardio for less amount of time than before. in the two weeks I have been counting calories doing cardio and light repetitions I have gained 2 pounds. it seems like I have a lot of control over what I eat during the day but I am often hungry. And then, at the end of the day at night , even after I met my calorie goals I have strong desire to eat. After doing a little research , I want to start eating just one meal a day around 5 o’clock .. I’m not sure how many calories I should be eating but I’ve been counting around 1200. sometimes I work out in the morning and sometimes I work out at night depending on my schedule so if I work out in the morning do I need to eat something after I workout? Doesn’t this break my fast? can I have cream in my coffee?

    Reply
    • I don’t count calories, nor do I think you should. Eat an amount of food you think will work, give it a go, see the results, then adjust.

      As for your other questions, it depends on the training you’re doing. As for cream in the coffee: I don’t, but that doesn’t mean you can’t. Experiment. I think that a dab of cream won’t make the universe implode on itself.

      Reply
  • #3 made me crack up a lot! Haha! Thanks for that.

    When you say coffee is your morning meal do you mean black coffee?

    Reply
  • Everyone’s ok with what is in this post when it is said by a man. If this list was written by a woman, people start screaming, get help for your eating disorder. That’s food for thought

    Reply
    • It’s about time everyone realizes that if you “watch” what you eat, you have an eating disorder. And it’s also about time everyone realizes that the idea of “disorder” is predicated on there being some kind of “order” or “norm,” in which case the “normal” way to eat these days is also a disorder.

      Otherwise stated that for someone to say that “this” method or “that” method is disordered, that’s to have enough gull to say your method is the ordered method — ie: the supreme, “right” method.

      So what is it? What’s ordered or disordered?

      Reply
  • Do you think IF helps broken bones heal faster/better etc? I broke my wrist and am worried if i keep fasting 20 hrs a day my bones might not be getting all the nutrients they need all the time. Especially drinking 3 large coffees to ward of hunger during the day might me leaching calcium away maybe? I eat a lot of greens/calcium etc when I do eat but do you think that is enough?
    thank you

    Reply
    • This is a good question. To answer it to the best of my knowledge, when I broke my foot, I couldn’t cook, and so I did IF. I’d say just make sure you eat as much raw veggies as needed. When it doubt, eat more. Also you can take a good multi or something.

      Reply
  • I usually break fasting in the morning and in the evening. During daytime hours I only eat if I am hungry, some nuts or dried squid (very common here in Hong Kong :) It seems to work for me.

    Reply
  • Someone please help!! I can’t find this answer anywhere. Do taking your vitamins and supements in the morn stop your fast. They have calories so don’t know what to do??? Please advise if you are a verteran faster!!!!

    Reply
    • Having a multivitamin won’t cause the earth to spin off axis.

      The concern you should have is taking any fat soluble vitamins in a certain window with fat itself. But, anyway, it’s not like you won’t get the same benefit from having a multivitamin later in the day. It’s not crucial to have them in the morning.

      Reply
  • Hi!
    I am currently working a 9-5 job, and have been making some decent muscle gains. whilst also losing fat over the past say, 6 months. now, i used to be well overweight and have maintained a low carb, and very, very high protein intake diet for this duration. i honestly believe that although i was on a deficit, my body has been using fat to fuel the muscle building process. Anyway. I have come to the point now where i would like to lose that last 2-3 kg of fat and gain muscle concurrently. IF dieting has been recommended to me, but the exact breakup of how it would work/fit in to my schedule is difficuly. I work 9-5, wake up at 6-7am, go to bed at 12-1 (i catch up on sleep on weekends but bed time never changes, only wake up time) and i do weights training 5-6 nights per week, alternating between days of back/biceps, chest/triceps and legs/abs. In addition i perform 10-15 min of HIIT before or after each workout, and always take a shake directly after. My question is, would IF work for me if i was to open a feeding window from say 2-10 and consume say 30% calories between 2 and 6 and then the bulk of the calories after my workout between say 9 and 10? or is is pointless in achieving my goals?

    Reply
  • now i´m confused… well, my job is basically moving around stones, soil, bricks, digging holes… i work from 7 till 12, have lunch and then from 13 till 17… because my job is hard i cant eat a big meal, i wouldnt be able to bend on my knee without puking… so, what should i do? I really need some breakfast, so i just make a big fruit-oats smoothie and of we go, but what and when should i eat the rest of the day? also having in mind that i don´t eat meat nor dairy products, i do eat eggs and some fish though

    Reply
    • Well if you need breakfast and you’re also looking to eat at other typical meal times, then you aren’t going to be intermittent fasting, so, yeah.

      Reply
      • well, i need breakfast but i dont know what i should be eating during the day, thats what i mean…

        Reply
        • I eat a good breakfast every day at 9 or 9:30 and then don’t eat again until 7 or 8 at night. So I get in 2 long fasts per day of 10-12 hours each and 2 meals. This has worked pretty well for me. I do a 40 minute workout around 1pm most days and feel no lack of energy to do them.

          Reply
          • thanx, i´ll try something similar, only that 9 hours of carrying stones can be too much excercise with no eating… but we´ll see… thanx again man

          • Yeah, your body can adapt to a lot of things. What seems totally impossible now can be totally possible down the line as your body adapts to hunger and such.

        • Well intermittent fasting is all about windows, mainly. You still have to eat nutritious enough foods like proteins and veggies and such.

          Reply
          • yes of course, the thing is that meat eaters, as myself once, beleive protein is only in meat, dairy and eggs… but thats far away from the truth…

          • Well most meaningful sources of concentrated protein are.

          • For those of us managing diabetes with diet and exercise all grains are bad news, so that pretty much leaves meat, fish, dairy, eggs and legumes (which also need to be consumed in moderation to avoid blood sugar spikes).

          • Diabetes is a complex issue, but most of it stems from being overweight. I’d say whatever helps reverse the scale should be used, so thanks for sharing your own experience!

  • Great article. I’ve been IF’ing for only 25 days but you seem to hit the nail right on the head with your nine points. The 16/8 fast I’ve adopted is simply great. By counting macros and not calories, it’s hard to believe that the calorie count for me each day is only around 1800. The amount of food I eat at lunch and dinner is hard sometimes to cram in (hence protein shakes and bars). The diet is great too because I look forward to hitting the gym on my 3 days/week not only because I feel better after, but I also get to eat more carbs than my rest days (I’m on a Cut). Spaghetti and stir-fried rice get it hard on training days…

    That said, I just wanted to add that I have found a couple of ‘game changers’ that have made this eating style even better. (And, I am NOT related to these companies in ANY way…). I mention these here because I am now on the hunt for ‘super-macro-game-changers’ like these so I hope you or others don’t mind offering up suggestions as well.

    1. “Quest” Protein Bars (simply google them and read the reviews) are craaaaazy good and the avg. macro profile (P20 C20 F5) even fits my low-carb rest days. i.e. Quest Cookie Dough Bar in the microwave for 10 seconds and it’s game over. Boom. Seriously, if you haven’t incorporated them into your diet, do it.

    2. Costco Kirkland Turkey Burgers, strangely enough, have also been a savior. Macro profile: P35 C2 F6. Easy to fry in a pan, grill, bbq etc. and a million ways to eat them (chopped into a salad, jammed into a pita, wrapped in a tortilla, etc.). These have been a godsend on days when I have little time to prepare a ‘proper’ meal.

    Thanks again for your great article! I’ll be a regular here from now on…

    Reply
  • Great article.

    My story in brief : Went from 175 lbs down to 135, in about 6 months by 3, 24 hour fasts per week. Loved getting into xxs tops but then decided that this is too skinny and not a great look. Decided to work out and build some muscle. 45 mins 5 days per week lifting free weights. moved to somewhere between 20/4 – 18/6 periods of fasts. Now up to 161 lbs but muscular and little fat over about 12-18 months.

    For anyone in the here after new year. Some little tips as to how I have managed to optimise this :-

    1) For me no cals means no cals. Black coffee ( as this great article suggests ) is the elixir of life, get used to the taste. No milks, no sugars. No cals at all but fasting would be much tougher without coffee.

    2) I work out in my lunch hour 45 mins on one body group per day. I still dont eat until I get home about 6pm and I will have a whey protein shake, then a major dinner, then a second amount of calories in whatever form, choc, toast, cereals etc, and then a second whey shake before bed about 10 ish.

    3) Im not as rigid at the weekend. I dont work out at the weekend, but i dont go over the top with eating either.

    4) do not let this run your life, if I have a business lunch at work, then I eat. If im going for a date with the gf then I eat. Just get straight back on it the next day.

    5) Know your goals. If you are here for weight loss then you must remain in caloric deficit. If you want to build muscle, then you need to find a way of getting into surplus but only by a little bit. If you are overweight but want muscles, I would suggest that you should try and keep calories below maintenance for 6 months. Being a newbie should mean that you still create muscle.

    6) Make sure your gym time is short and effective. 45 mins, 15-20 sets of weights. Get off the treadmill ! Have a look at youtube channels like twinmuscleworkout to see what exercises look like.

    This is what has worked for me. Im 37 and in by far and away the best shape of my life. Feel great, look younger than i did 10 years ago. Owe it all to IF, this will be with me for life.

    Again great article.

    Reply
  • During my 2 month strict fasting diet. I lost 40 lbs 20 hour fast with a 4 hour eating window, plus 24 hour fast once a week and HIIT 5 days a week, with fasting i feel like i get full so fast now, wen i brake my fast i still have to eat very light so i dnt feel nasty and stuffed, lol eat like a bird now i go out to eat with family and they look at me like i do it on purpose all i can say to them is “No I WANT to eat but i CAN’T. !” i did go threw a little phase where i couldnt get enouph sweets and junk i wanted everything and i didnt care i went for it…lol

    Reply
  • i’m new to this but excited and committed. not trying to lose weight, just interested in optimal health. IF just seems like the best way to live life.

    would you say there is a minimum length of time to ingest protein after a workout? i used to think it was necessary to have a shake ~30 minutes after, and that you should never wait longer than one hour.

    ideally, i would like to begin fitness towards the end of my fasting period, but i know it will not always be that way.

    (Vega is my brand of choice)

    thanks. be well.

    Reply
    • Your PWO nutrition depends a great deal on what your nutrition looks like for about a day beforehand, IMO.

      and IMO, you should chill for about 30 minutes after you train to let your nervous system calm down.

      Reply
      • Thanks for the response.
        I must say the first thing i noticed since starting IF is much improved sleep. insomnia was a huge problem for me for 10+ years…and it seems to have completely disappeared. I’ve been eating inside a 6-hour window for about a month now. I’m trying to read as much as i can on the topic and your site is a wealth of valuable information – not to mention the fact that you personally reply to readers’ questions. ..to that end, i recently found some negative opinions on IF, and was hoping you might be able to refute them: http://www.poliquingroup.com/ArticlesMultimedia/Articles/Article/971/The_Pros_and_Cons_of_Intermittent_Fasting_.aspx

        Reply
        • There are many people with many ideas. CP has been argued with many a times, and I prefer not to get into the ring simply because I know what’s worked for me and that’s what matters.

          Reply
  • I was snort laughing uncontrollably reading this awesome article! Nice one!

    Reply
    • I try. Anytime I can make boogers happen, it makes me happy.

      Reply
      • Hi I’m on 18/6 IF schedule and only eat 1350 calories a day broken down into 3 meals and two snacks. My last meal is at 8pm every evening and my first meal is at 2pm daily. When would you say is the optimal time for me to work out for the best weightlose results during my IF journey and why?

        Ps How do you recommend i break my fast ?

        Thanks a bunch

        John

        Reply
        • I’d say you aren’t eating enough. I recommend breaking your fast like the rest of us do: you eat something.

          Reply
  • I started the Warrior diet approach, they say in the book that when you get hungry you just eat some fruits or some nuts or a salad.
    So during my undereating i mostly eat a melon, salad and some berries. At the evening i would just eat a clean meal till i’m stuffed.
    Do you reckon it would be better to just do a whole day fast instead of the salad and fruits? I would think the fruits, berries and salads are kinda good since they hare very low in GI/GL and Kcal + full of antioxidants to help the detox. And for me it really helps with the extreme hunger feeling.
    So during the day that would make about 200 kcal’s just from fruit and vegetables.
    My goal is body recompesition, less fat, bit more muscle, maybe some weightloss. I train 4x a week Jim Wendlers strength and 6 days a week 30 mins of various cardio. Currently on p90x3.

    What is your tought on this approach?

    Reply
    • I don’t know. Keep doing it. If it works, cool. If it doesn’t, think about changing. Don’t worry until you have reason to worry.

      Reply
  • Hi Anthony, great post..

    I realize how late I am to the party but anyway..

    I started IF last week but am doing it a little different, so would like your opinion please: I fast for 14-16 hours depending on my day, with my eating window being 12-8pm. I usually workout around 12.45pm so I eat a home made oatmeal protein bar before going to the gym (at 12). Then during workout I drink a whey protein shake with water (I know this is not optimal but I’m trying to eat as much protein as possible during the day). Then after workout I eat a “respectable” size of a meal (around 2pm) this usually includes some kind of meat, rice or pasta. Then at 5.30 I make a health shake, with berries, ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, oatmeal and low fat activia yogurt. Then finally at around 8 (sometimes 9) I have my last meal which generally includes a salad/ mixed veggies and a protein.

    My workout includes 2 days of heavy lifting and 2 days of HIIT with rest between them of course.

    Do you think this would work or am I wrong trying to do everything at the same time?

    Thank you.

    Reply
    • I don’t know what you mean by “everything at the same time”

      Reply
      • Thanx for the reply.

        I meant that I’m doing IF but instead of two large meals I still split it into several meals/snacks. And that I also do both HIIT and heavy lifting.

        My aim is to lose body fat but keep my weight (gain muscle).

        Thanx

        Reply
        • I think people are best losing fat first and then focusing on building muscle without getting fat.

          Reply
  • I started IF just a few days ago after trying to be healthy eating a calorie controlled diet of 3 meals a day for a while, I failed epically, felt bloated, became more obsessed about trying to lose just the 10lbs I’ve gained & ended up the most miserable she-devil on the planet.
    I’ve found the IF ok so far & what I actually realised was from a person that skipped breakfast for many years to thinking I need to eat breakfast was that in fact it did me no favours at all & increased my weight! So I’m really pleased as already I’m starting feel the benefits. Glad I came across this information, it’s really helpful with a much more ‘cut out the crap & get the point approach’. Great :)

    Reply
  • Hey anthony, love the post.

    Today is actually my second day of IF. I decided to give it a try after doing some research and seeing success stories and what not, however I’m still trying to get the ropes around it. I’m currently on a 16 hour fast and 8 hour feeding window breaking my fast by 10am and trying to lose body fat while maintaining some gaiiiinsss. Prior to this i was following the traditional 6 small meals a day, what i wanted to ask is it possible to continue this 6 small meals a day as long as it’s within my feeding window?. I don’t know how to count calories , something i’ve been trying to learn for months so i find it rather difficult just eating one large meal post workout without knowing how much i’m getting in, however with the 6 small meals approach you kind of have a rough estimate if you catch my drift. Also I keep seeing comments and posts about how fasted training gives the best results, i usually train in the afternoon from 2-4 that’s bout half of my eating window gone so i have two meals pre-workout. Will this affect my results by any chance?

    Regards,

    Simon

    Reply
    • Most people that IF don’t because it’s really really silly to eat 1 meal every 1.5 hours or whatever.

      Maybe you should blaze the trail.

      But I don’t catch your drift. If you can count calories in six, you can do it in three. Just have double your portions…?

      Reply
  • Hi Anthony – when you say that we should be eating the same amount of calories within the 8-hour feeding phase, would you say the same for those who are trying to lose fat and get that ‘solid base’?

    I would assume that maintaining the same amount of calories (eg. 2500) is for people who are already at their solid base and are trying to maintain or gain muscle?? Should people trying to reach that solid base by cutting fat be eating less than maintenance, even on training days?

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Many roads can get you to your destination. If you haven’t proven to yourself that you can lose weight, do that before worrying about calorie cycling.

      Reply
  • Great article! I loved the Seinfeld video; hysterical.

    I’ve been doing 16:8 for a month and found that it fit my tendencies and life very well. I found in the past that I would have to force myself to be diligent in eating a good breakfast; partially because of laziness and partially I just wasn’t really hungry sometimes.
    I also have issues with staying up and eating late so an unexpected benefit of IF for me is not giving in to late night fast food/cravings and getting in bed earlier sometimes.

    It was also interesting to me that it really isn’t a big deal, I don’t ever feel STARVING (except after only 13 hours I’m feeling pretty hungry because I’m lowering my cals for a little while). I also notice that the few rare occasions when I worked out fasted with weights, I felt fine and didn’t feel any strength diminishment.

    Overall I really like 16:8 though sometimes I’ve varied that naturally like maybe 16:7 or 15:8 that kind of thing and then recently on a mini-vacation I followed it for the most but varied it a few times where I expanded the window.

    I’m pretty sure I’ll continue since it feels pretty natural to me anyway as I’ve never been a “6-8 meals” girl and tend to save up my cals/macros for after workouts which typically are at night.

    Thanks for the cool article. I’m still trying to read more about it and see other peoples experiences.

    Reply
  • I laughed so hard I had tears rolling down my face. Excellent description of the diet. I agree, coffee is a staple… pretty much all day. I’ll provide you with an interesting twist on this diet though.

    Don’t work out.. (lol, I know)
    Work 70 hrs a week
    Work night shift
    Reverse mealtime
    Be over 40

    I work 11PM thru 7AM, and commonly till 11AM.
    I eat one meal a day, (no snack)at 5 pm with the family.
    I’ll eat a dessert or nibble till 8 pm (3 hr Window)

    I sleep 830-200 or 1130-430.

    Rinse and repeat… still loose weight and keep trim.
    Sometimes I’ll have wine and snacks at 3m and eat at 5pm, allowing a snack till 6.

    I’m the guy that can’t overeat or I’ll gain also.
    Doctor says numbers look good and is baffled. Says keep doing whatever your doing.

    Reply
    • Well it’s good and bad. You probably need to ditch IF if you can’t shove enough food down the hatch.

      Reply

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